Like the vast majority of the population, I look in the mirror sometimes and don?t like what I see: my hair has a life of its own, my eyes are a tad red, my cheeks a little blotchy and so on. My solution is to repair the damage as best I can, apply some make-up and get on with the rest of my day. Looking a little bit tired isn?t going to ruin my day because ultimately I feel comfortable in my skin.
There are other people who have an immaculate outward appearance but are not comfortable because they are running belief patterns that tell them that they are undeserving, lacking in some social skill, that they don?t belong and so on. They look terrific but underneath they are not at all at ease with who they really are. No-one is perfect, we all have flaws but self-acceptance is key to being able to live the life that we want to.
Obviously we cannot avoid all of the slings and arrows that come our way but dealing with their effects on us is crucial if they are not to adversely impact our future decision-making and choices. Talking things through with a trusted friend can help to put things into perspective ? especially if we are prone to taking things personally, but sometimes we need to take specific action to release deep-rooted negative ways of seeing our world.
Making the shift between, for example, believing that we are a ?bad? person to believing that once upon a time we made a mistake or two is not difficult when you know how. Forgiveness is a powerful action with consequences that can send positive ripples through our life story. Forgiving someone else allows us to release resentment, bitterness, anger etc. It doesn?t, of course, necessarily mean condoning their behaviour, but enables us to jettison the emotional baggage that we have been carrying. Choosing not to forgive someone else simply results in our own continued suffering and, often, events seem to magnify in significance over time. A small incident can become huge in our memory as we become more and more determined not to let it go.
Forgiving ourselves can also be a challenge but ? and here?s the thing ? accepting our imperfections and learning from the experience is sufficient. There is no need to continually beat ourselves up for something that happened in the past, no matter how awful it seemed at the time or when we look back. The truth is we cannot change it, it happened so we have a choice ? let it haunt us for the rest of our life or accept, learn from it, forgive (if appropriate) and move on.
Guest blog by Barbara Guest