How to Be a ‘Fly’ Person: Early Writings on Building Self-Confidence, part 2 (On Overcoming Guilt & Forgiving Yourself)
So here’s part two of being a “fly” person: being fly mentally of course…in terms of your self-confidence, not in terms of your fashion (although the young lad above is kind of jig). This is really some of my early work slightly revised, so be sure to check out the first installment and the third, finale one to enjoy this series in full…
So the second step for building self-confidence is to take large doses of this special medicine called forgiveness: learn to forgive yourself.
Self-forgiveness is challenging, because we tend to harbor extreme guilt and shame towards ourselves for things we’ve done in the past.
In the past – through our selfishness or lack of self-control – we may have caused someone else – maybe even someone we loved – to experience pain, and through our anger, we may have even done this intentionally.
If this is you, accept the fact that it happened, and that there’s nothing you can do about it now. You can’t go back in time and undo what’s already done, so dwelling on it now serves no purpose at all.
What Guilt Does to Us…
When you harbor guilt towards yourself, the only thing you do is prevent yourself from making the most of your life in the present, and in effect, you end up denying the world of the brilliant contributions only you have to share.
We all have things in our past that we’re ashamed of…the mistakes you’ve made (yes, even the most terrible ones) DO NOT make you a bad person, they only make you human…
“But how can I forgive myself if I knew EXACTLY what I was doing at the time, and still did it anyway?”
That’s a good question, and I’m glad you asked: the answer is to realize that everyone you know, including you, is, at all times, only doing the best they can.
Everyone’s doing the best they can. Everyone’s operating to the greatest extent that their awareness will allow them to.
While we may know something on an intellectual level, that doesn’t mean we truly UNDERSTAND it…it doesn’t mean we’ve integrated into the core of our psyche.
That’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom: while it’s relatively easy to grasp something conceptually, it takes *life experience* to internalize wisdom, and this experience usually comes in the form of pain, such as the guilt you feel from your mistake now.
That’s why you hear people say “You’re so smart, you’re stupid…”. Since “intelligent” people grasp things so well with just their brain, they tend to get over-confident in their own thought process, and thus disregard life-experience….they don’t pay attention to the signs they’re getting, and therefore fail to gain wisdom.
Wisdom is a bio-feedback mechanism: the prefix bio means life, and wisdom is the mechanism that obtains lessons from life by reflecting on it.
So realize that you had to make the mistake in order to learn from it, because if you really did know it, you wouldn’t of made the mistake in the first place. Forgive yourself for not having enough wisdom at the time, and move forward in life with the lessons you can extract from it now.
Channeling Guilt into Purpose & Direction
Debbie Ford talks about this in her audiobook The Secret of the Shadow: The Power of Owning Your Whole Story, where your “shadow” is the past that you’ve been avoiding or feeling guilyt about and your “secret” is the hidden jewels of insight contained within that same past.
While you THINK your past is negative, it actually holds the central keys to knowledge of self and life-purpose.
For instance, if your shadow has something to do with a significant other, the secret might lead you to devote yourself to creating love in ALL of your relationships. If your shadow has something to do with family, the secret might lead you to dedicate yourself to becoming a wonderful parent and helping others to do the same, so on and so forth…
You can’t play cut and paste with your life history, and you can’t relegate the parts that you’re ashamed of to some place in the back of your mind. If you do, they’ll continue to haunt and limit you from the subconscious realm.
You have to “own your whole story”; you have to accept EVERYTHING you’ve been through – the good, the bad and the ugly – in order to gain the wisdom necessary to live up to your Highest Design.
Hope this helps. Take care and check back in next week for part three.