Extremes of Despair and Gladness


I wish some of my past could be erased; those parts I dislike most. Some were done to me, but many are things I did to others. It’s a hundred times harder to forgive myself than it is find forgiveness for another. My ability to let go beating myself up has improved a lot since I began successfully disputing my own BS a few years ago, but it’s still challenging, especially in a ‘down’ time.

Everyone messes up. Me, you, the neighbors, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, King David, the Buddha, everybody.

It’s important to acknowledge mistakes, feel appropriate remorse, and learn from them so they don’t happen again. But most people keep beating themselves up way past the point of usefulness: they’re unfairly self-critical.

For most people, that inner critic is continually yammering away, looking for something, anything, to find fault with. It magnifies small failings into big ones, punishes you over and over for things long past, ignores the larger context, and doesn’t credit you for your efforts to make amends.

Therefore, you really need your inner protector to stick up for you: to put your weaknesses and misdeeds in perspective, to highlight your many good qualities surrounding your lapses, to encourage you to keep getting back on the high road even if you’ve gone down the low one, and – frankly – to tell that inner critic to Shut Up.

The only wholesome purpose of guilt, shame, or remorse is learning – not punishment! – so that you don’t mess up in that way again. Anything past the point of learning is just needless suffering. Plus excessive guilt, etc., actually gets in the way of you contributing to others and helping make this world a better place, by undermining your energy, mood, confidence, and sense of worth. Author and neuropsychologist Dr. Rich Hanson http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practice/the-art-of-self-forgiveness

My gratitude is never stronger than when I come back to the ‘real world’ after a bout of cycling depression. If I am willing to get in the ring with the big “D.” and fight it things get better faster than if I just wait for it to pass.

There is darkness inside all of us… that part of our soul that is irreparably damaged by the very trials and tribulations of life. We are what we are because of it, or perhaps in spite of it. Some use it as a shield to hide behind, others as an excuse to do unconscionable things. But, truly, the darkness is simply a piece of the whole, neither good nor evil unless you make it so. Jenna Maclaine

There is no doubt that I appreciate contentment more than many people. Existing within a world of depression’s darkness and shadow even for a short time makes every breathe more precious when the lightness of ‘normal’ returns. You won’t hear many whines for I know it is the down times that ultimately make being alive so cherished. The wider the gap between the extremes of despair and gladness, the better I can bear the former and more I am grateful for the latter. Oh, what a difference a day makes!

I now see how owning our story
and loving ourselves through that process
is the bravest thing that we will ever do.
Brene Brown