life · Thoughts

Forgive Yourself

During one of my sessions, when I was lamenting about certain incidents from my past and expressing an opinion that maybe I could have done this in a different way at that time, my therapist said something that resonated with me.

She said that it isn’t correct to be in the present day and say that I wish I could have done things differently in the past or wish I had that courage back then because in present time, I am not the person who I was on that day. Today, I have new information, more experience and hence I am able to look at the situation differently.

Back then I didn’t have the experience or the knowledge and I was driven by fear of the unknown and hence whatever decision my younger self had taken was the best decision she could take at that time of point.

There is no need to be ashamed of or be embarrassed of what I have done in my past. It was neither right nor wrong. It was just what I could do to cope and survive. So, I forgive myself and I do not hold any grudge or hate towards myself. I will continue to learn to love myself and pick my self up on bad days.

Short Story

Buddhist Story about a Man, a Tiger, a Snake and two Mice

A man was being chased by a tiger in the jungle. With the tiger almost upon him, the man saw a well by the side of the path. In desperation, he leapt in. As soon as he jumped, he realised the well was dry and at the bottom was a big black snake.

Instinctively, his hand reached out and found the root of a tree on the side of the well. He looked down and saw that the snake was ready to strike but his feet were just a fraction too high. He looked up and saw that the tiger was trying to paw him from above but his hand was just a fraction too low. Then, two mice emerged from a hole and started chewing on the root holding him.

As the tiger was attempting to paw the man, it was rubbing against a tree. On the branch of that tree, was a beehive. Honey began dripping into the well. The man put out his tongue and started enjoying the honey. The mice were chewing the root thinner, the snake was stretching closer and the tiger was leaning near. His fate was sealed, or so he thought.

Suddenly, the tiger leant too far. It tumbled into the well, missing the man, crushing the snake and killing both of them. The mice broke the root at that instant. The man climbed out of the well and went on his way.

This Buddhist story teaches us a lot about life:

  • The predicament that the man finds himself in the well is very similar to a state of life in which there seems to be no way out. We are stuck.
  • Sometimes, we run away from our current problems (tiger) and without thinking, run into more difficulties (snake).
  • Sometimes there’s just nothing we can do about our situation. In the face of such misery, it is difficult to find joy. But if we change our perception, we can find joy (honey) even in the most difficult times.
  • That change will happen is certain. We just don’t know when and how it will happen. But sometimes the future can surprise us. So, when life seems to fall apart, it may actually be falling in place for us.