In February, our attention is often pulled to thoughts of love and romance, including heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, candlelit dinners, and dozens of roses from a partner who adores us. But while romantic relationships can make our hearts beat a wild tango (and are a delightful facet of our human existence!) here’s what I know to be true:
You can only love another to the extent you love yourself.
And self-love is rooted in self-forgiveness. Generosity of the heart, reverence, respect, and empathy for all living things bring you profound power to live a life of happiness and contentment. And that includes generosity, empathy, and compassion for yourself!
When someone else hurts us, we naturally create emotional distance. We want to protect ourselves from future hurts by keeping our guard up, not getting too close for fear we’ll be hurt again. Add on the weight of unresolved anger and resentment, and it’s not surprising that you feel disconnected from another.
The same is true for our relationship with ourselves. When we judge ourselves harshly or hold onto resentments, we create a disconnect within our soul. We cannot reject a portion of ourselves and still live at peace with others.
Look at the world around us right now. It is so easy to see how the lack of forgiveness feeds the turmoil and suffering as cycles of hurts and resentment play out in what seems like a never-ending spiral.
Now imagine the same divisiveness within your own heart. By keeping your self-directed resentment, and shame alive, you’re restricting your ability to feel, give, and accept love.
There is no room in the sacred vessel of your heart for compassion and love if it is full of anger and shame!
Forgiveness is the key to freedom and peace . . . and it starts with you.
Many of us have spent our lives collecting hurts and grievances — and the longest list is often those we ourselves have committed! Even when we’re open-hearted to those who have wronged us and move quickly to excuse and forgive them, we can be absolute ogres to ourselves.
We keep a running tally of all our flaws and mistakes:
The people we’ve hurt.
The mistakes we’ve made.
The trust we’ve broken…
And if you’re swimming in that pond already you may think everything is your fault so you may lack discernment when it comes to others who project their resentments on to you. This can get very sticky and compounds into an unnecessary burden for you to feel even worse.
Trust me, as a recovering addict, it’s easy to create a long list of missteps I’ve made!
It is an important part of our journey to review our mistakes and make amends where possible and to avoid taking on what others project. This is why it’s so important to know what is yours to work through with rigorous self honesty and then release the feelings of judgment, shame, which at their core are low self worth and esteem.
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