“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 17 April 2015

Living With Imperfection

For much of my life, I have been a very judgemental person, summing up people and situations almost instantly. I admit it, I have very often been wrong. And one of the people I have been most wrong about (because most harsh and judgemental about) is myself.

I love the words of Francis de Sales: "When it comes to being gentle, start with yourself. Don't get upset with your imperfections ... It's a great mistake - because it leads nowhere - to get angry because you are angry, upset at being upset, disappointed because you are disappointed. ... You cannot correct a mistake by repeating it."

"It is a great mistake, because it leads nowhere. ... You cannot correct a mistake by repeating it." Oh.

The first time I read those words, a few months ago, I was working through a period of fierce self-hatred. There were issues in my life that I wasn't happy with - which have since, I am glad to say, been largely resolved - and I hated myself for how I was reacting to the situation.

So I read those words of Francis de Sales, and realised that all I was doing was to pile up anger on top of anger, upset on top of upset, and disappointment on top of disappointment, rather than trying to gently, rationally, explore how *not to* repeat my mistakes. And learning how, instead, to move on, and heal, and heal others.

I also came across a quote by the Buddha the other day, which illustrates this very nicely: "Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." Just roll that around in your mind for a moment, and consider the implications of it. It means that when we feel negative emotions and let them eat us up inside (because this is not only true of anger) it is WE who are suffering, not the person against whom they are directed.

So I am practicing accepting negative stuff as part of life, and trying to just move on, sailing down the river of Life like a serene swan, unflurried by the occasional ripple. It isn't easy, but golly, it's a lot more peaceful, and I feel a lot better inside myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment