“Our self-pride or perfectionism gets in the way of life’s possibilities…” Wise words uttered by a friend recently.
How many times can you recall when you chastised yourself for not living up to your expectations or times when you hesitated to move forward due to feelings of inadequacy? How many times did you fail to forgive yourself for being you, being human?
It is difficult for us to see the amazing person that we are when immersed in a situation where we feel insecure or inadequate or when we get caught off-guard. If we are fortunate, we may have someone in our lives who will remind us of the strength and beauty that resides within us before we inflict more punishment upon ourselves. Someone who will hold up a mirror for us to see ourselves as they do.
There are too many people, who due to their own self-loathing or insecurities, are quick to put others down, to undermine and to stifle the progress of another. And unfortunately, there are also too many people who, due to the same reasons, stifle and undermine themselves through feelings of unworthiness or perfectionism.
How many people hold themselves back feeling that they are above taking on a job or task due to their education, status or stage in life? Difficult times may present choices that chafe harshly upon one’s self-pride.
Holding onto enough ego with which to empower ourselves, to fuel our self-esteem, is a delicate dance that we perform daily. Like in a waltz, where the balancing and coordination of steps between two people is required to produce a dance of grace and ease, pride and perfectionism must meet with self-love and compassion to create a life full of possibilities and growth.
I had originally sat down to write about the power of forgiveness when I received an email from my friend about her observations regarding self-pride and perfectionism. I soon realized that forgiveness is as much a part of self-pride and perfectionism as is a lack of, or too much of, ego.
Much has been written about the reasons we must strive to forgive, about how, in forgiving another, we release ourselves from the energy drain that has eaten away at our very soul. Of how so many people, when they ponder what forgiveness means to them, fall under the misconception that forgiving equals condoning, and that, to them, is an unacceptable act. As difficult a task that it is to forgive another, forgiveness offered to ourselves can sometimes feel to be an insurmountable task, as self-forgiveness requires a very large dose of self-love. And once again, our self-pride and perfectionism gets in our way.
Over 30 years ago, I listened to my favourite teacher, Leo Buscaglia, talk about the power of forgiveness as he related the story of how one murder victim’s mother chose to end her suffering through offering forgiveness to her daughter’s murderer. Of how this woman was harassed for her act by those who did not understand the power of forgiveness. A power that freed her from the festering anger and pain that had consumed her over time.
When we choose to free ourselves from our self-imposed limitations, when we accept that we will make mistakes, that we will stumble, we can then see ourselves in a new light. A light that will show us a better way, a gentler way. When we learn to get out of our own way, we will find that the world holds endless opportunities and possibilities for us to explore and embrace.