Care for Self and Others
Statement: “Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it.”
Person 1: “really? I don’t”
Person 2: “This is about compassion, you can not have it for others if you can’t have it for yourself.”
First of all, people don’t use words correctly and think they understand something. You can’t have compassion for yourself unless you view yourself as another directly and not as yourself (its contradictory and impossible):
Compassion is suffering together, in common, co-suffering, hence it cannot happen with you and just you. Another is required for compassion to be in operation. The definition of a word doesn’t seem to stop people from using it incorrectly. People are confused in their concepts, but pretend they understand.
The second person is trying to say (but failed) that if you don’t care for yourself, you won’t be caring for others.
The statement is essentially saying to forgive, pardon, excuse yourself for not knowing something before you knew it. It seems dumb to say, but it applies to those who beat themselves up, over and over, for not knowing something. But did you do something wrong, cause harm? Maybe… but it’s in the past, its done, you can’t go back in time and learn what you know now. You have a choice now, repent from your false ways of the past, and do right now. The statement is a word game, to help those who don’t understand their self-loathing, to apply forgiveness to themselves as they apply it to others. This statement/message is for those who want to punish themselves for not knowing something in the past. It’s time to move on. Let it go. So, like person 1 said, “I don’t” forgive myself for what I didn’t know, because I don’t put myself down into self-loathing from that ignorance, hence, there is nothing to forgive. Do the best with what you know, and when you know better, do better. You can always increase your chances of “betterness” if you actively learn what is better from what is worse, what is right from wrong, what is true from false. Regret and repent for your wrongs, if need be right them, and then move on.
You can see how Person 2 was implying that Person 1, not forgiving themselves, means they are self-loathing. Since they don’t forgive themselves, and don’t have “compassion” for themselves, then they can’t have “compassion” for others (recall by “compassion” they actually mean care or “love”). It’s a subtle way to tell someone they are in self-hate and self-loathing, just because they don’t agree with that statement.
There is the saying: “you have to care for yourself before you can care for others.” Sure, it’s true, but there are levels/degrees of care as well. It is true in the basic sense of opposites. If you have self-hate or self-loathing, you won’t truly be capable of caring for others. But later, after that level of overcoming self-loathing, in order to care more for yourself, you need to care more for others.
This is mirrored in how we learn about ourselves anyways. Do you do the inner shadow work and understand deeper aspects of yourself at any age? No. We require conscious awareness of ourselves. This comes with reality. Awareness of reality is first in our understanding. Then we can detect how reality does not match up to our previous awareness, realize we have been lied to, that what we have taken in is false. Then, we understand the need to go inward and clean up the garbage we now see from the pollution of our false perceptions. You don’t go inward, doing shadow work, while you are unaware of how poisoned you are. You need conscious awareness of reality first in order for the internal contradiction, conflict and opposition to come to light. The opposer falsity was previously hidden in darkness, but thanks to reality being grasped in consciousness, you feel/see/know the conflict is there to begin to face it.
You care more for yourself when you care more for others, just as you care to fix yourself when you care about the world and see how much fixing it needs. Blind “compassion” and false “universal love” does not indicate you truly care for other beings or yourself. That is only an internal state of feeling that is clouding objectivity with reality. What shows care are actions. Caring more for animals brought me to care more for myself, my health and well-being. I didn’t have self-loathing, I had gotten past that, but my heart-center was deadened, undeveloped, asleep, and it is now more awake, connected, etc.
1) Self-Loathing? -> Develop Care for Self -> Develop Care for Others
2) Develop more Care for Others -> Develops more Care for Yourself
Just because someone doesn’t express words in the “compassionate”, “kind”, or “universally loving” way or tone or word or expectation, does not mean they are in self-loathing or self-hate. As if no honest harsh criticism is valid, but is only an indicator of someone’s self-hatred. This is a clever dismissive mechanism to attempt to silence those that speak uncomfortable truth. For these people, if you do not have blind “compassion” and “universal love” towards all then you are self-hating, self-loathing. This way they can dismiss anything that does not conform to their emotionally mind controlled receptivity.
Related: Care for Other Beings and Ourselves
I enjoyed this article. Hit close to home for me. I have had people tell me I have to “forgive myself”. For what? I have no clue. I often say to them that when I learn something, I do better so what’s to forgive? I don’t hate myself because it’s all about learning for me. Some will insist (angrily so!) that I must forgive myself when I was in an abusive marriage. Why? I can’t forgive myself for loving another person. I moved on instead. I can’t tell which hurts more: the abusive marriage or the ones who insist I have to forgive myself for it. Both sound equally misleading.
One psychologist said that people with PTSD have to go through the process of forgiving themselves because they blame themselves, and she and the PTSD model encourages it as part of the healing process. I totally disagreed with her…and the model. She blocked me from her site because of this. I guess disagreeing was too “negative” for all her PTSD followers. I stated to her that encouraging forgiveness isn’t the answer to those who hurt them to that depth. The answer is the truth; that they weren’t to blame for the behaviors that hurt them, so why mislead them with forgiving themselves? They did nothing wrong except be in the wrong place at the wrong time to the wrong persons and situations (predator/prey), trusting the untrustworthy. Teach them clarity of thought and how to remove themselves from the one/situation that causes damage. Maybe we could even give viable support to assist them to take action instead of writing words on how to follow models?
“Forgive yourself” is flung around too much these days. It falls back to “let’s all be nice” regardless of the truth.
Very good pint. Thanks for the feedback. She didn’t want to hear the reality in full of the misleading statement, just wanted to hold onto the academic teachings that say to use it.