Before you can begin to be curious about what you are experiencing and bring to it the healing of compassion – which is the doorway to freedom – it helps to understand how much you judge yourself. And the more you judge yourself, the more you secretly believe that not only have you done things wrong, but you are wrong.
The belief that we are wrong is so deeply entrenched in all our psyches that at first it may be difficult to recognize that these beliefs are not true. I am not saying that you haven’t done unskillful things in your life—we all have. But you are being offered a choice in how you relate to your unskillfulness. To judge yourself keeps you caught in an ongoing prison of struggle. To bring understanding and compassion opens you to the freedom of connection and joy.
It is important to see that everyone makes mistakes, and everyone judges themselves for doing so. I have worked with people for over 30 years and have never met anyone, including internationally known teachers, who don’t have to work with the feeling that they have done things wrong, and thus are wrong. The more I awaken, the more I realize the truth in the Grateful Dead song, Scarlet Begonias, “I have seldom been right, but I have never been wrong.” Or, as I like to say it, “With all the mistakes you have made, you have never made a mistake.”
How can this be true? In Lynn Andrews’ Medicine Woman series, Agnes Whistling Elk says, “Everything begins with a circle of motion. Without the positive and negative poles, there would be no movement and no creation. Without your shadow side, your beauty would not exist!”
For years I couldn’t allow this truth to penetrate. I couldn’t accept that I was made of both darkness and light, strengths and weaknesses. I believed that I had done wrong and thus I was wrong. It also seemed to me that everyone else had it together and I did not. It was like an oozing wound inside of me that kept being re-opened by my judgment and shame. When I finally saw that I was wounding myself where I was the most wounded, I began touching with kindness the places inside of me that were truly hurting – the places that were fueled by the belief I was wrong.
For just this moment, allow yourself the mercy of realizing that at every step of the way, you have done the best you knew how to do. Let go of “I should have done this” and “I shouldn’t have done that,” and let compassion’s healing balm fill you. We are all wounded in some way or another. And when these wounds are brought close to the surface through the ups and downs of life, we all react in unskillful ways.
As you discover a more compassionate relationship with both your strengths and your weaknesses, you can begin to touch these so-called unacceptable parts with your heart. And as you do so, the storms of struggle will calm down enough for you to hear your inner voices of wisdom, that will lead you to the healing you long for.