The season of Lent is upon us once more and is a great time for reflection. Traditionally we make some sort of sacrifice around this time like quitting sugar, cigarettes, alcohol or the like until Easter Sunday. As a little extra, perhaps this season you could look at how you can be more kind to yourself. If you happened to ‘break lent’ for example, simply forgive yourself and start again. I find that when I let myself ‘off the hook’ as it were, it easier to do the same with other people.
How often do we keep someone ‘hanging’ in the moment just because we can? We seem to get pleasure from doing such things instead of putting them out of their misery at the first opportunity. Perhaps we feel we are losing some sort of power by letting them off the hook however I have found that such things just feed my ego and can make me feel bad about myself down the line. I now cannot afford to do such things as it is not the person I choose to be and I discovered the best antidote to this behaviour is to practice forgiving myself for all the things I do on a regular basis that warrant forgiveness. Obviously I therefore get plenty of practice forgiving myself and it brings my attention to just how human, fallible and vulnerable we all are. I am a great believer in the notion that if I don’t like something done to me, there is a very good chance that someone else would not like the same thing done to them. It also applies if I find great relief in being let off for something I have done or failed to do, I believe someone else could well appreciate that happening to them also.
You see how we treat ourselves can really have a significant effect on how we treat others. “Love thy neighbour as thy self” could be taken to imply that we must love ourselves first otherwise we may have to give out to our neighbours the same way we give out to ourselves in the privacy of our heads. Imagine how grateful our neighbours would be if we did the latter.
Usually at some stage every day I get opportunities to forgive myself and thankfully most days I have the pleasure too of letting someone off the hook. It really is a wonderful thing to do and it allows me to feel better about myself at so many levels. I know that the ego also enjoys the good sensations however it goes much deeper than that. There is a wonderful feeling of fulfilment that is generally missing for me when I do something and only the ego is satisfied. I can only describe it as a truly spiritual experience and what better time to nurture such than during the Holy Season of Lent. You know ‘practice makes permanent’ therefore have a go at practicing being kinder to yourself at this time which can encourage you to be the same to your neighbour and you too can enjoy the deep sense of well being that follows.
Until the next time.