Friday, August 31, 2012

"Takes One To Know One"

Guilt and Resentment
are states of mind that destroy love and create suffering. 

They seem to be caused by what happened but they're not. 
They are caused by how we relate to what happened. 

Fortunately, since we created them, we can also release them.
I did, after suffering for years, and what one man (or woman) can do, so can another. That's my goal in talking about it here. I see needless suffering in people I love. I see bitter emotionally shut-down people who are tormented by feelings of guilt and resentment, unaware that what they are thinking about others is exactly what they can't forgive in themselves

The old children's retort 
"Takes one to know one" is actually quite profound. 

When you notice faults or problems with other people, you are revealing what you think is wrong with yourself.

Think about it - you cannot "recognize" in another what isn't, in some form within you, it is impossible to recognize something completely foreign to you. 


I think the key to releasing this guilt is to recognize that we all go through life doing the very best we can with the extremely limited skills and awareness that we have at the time.

Unfortunately, the awareness that we have is seldom enough. As a result we make mistakes. Sometimes we make big ones.

Making mistakes is part of the human process. This is how we learn. Every time you make a mistake you learn a little more about life. You then become wiser and more aware.

Five years from now you will be much wiser than you are today, but the wisdom you will have five years from now doesn't do you any good today. Because today, you just don't have it.

Likewise the wisdom that you have today didn't do you any good back when you made your mistake. This is true because back then, you didn't know what you know today. You only knew what you knew.

To see this in my life, I had to go back in time to the moment I made my mistake. I noticed that at the time, I had a very particular state of mind and a very particular way of seeing life. I also notice that I acted totally consistent with where I was at the moment.

If I knew then what I know today, I would have acted very differently, but I didn't. Even if I thought I knew better, I didn't know the consequences like I do today.

So here's the big question:
  • Are you willing to forgive yourself for not knowing? 
  • Are you willing to forgive yourself for not being wiser and more aware? 
You might as well. If you look, you did the very best you could with where you were at the time.

Forgive yourself.
  • Forgive yourself for not being wiser and more aware. 
  • Forgive yourself for acting consistent with your limited awareness and forgive yourself for the damage that you caused as a result of your not knowing.

Allow yourself to be human....
Maya Angelou said "When you know better you do better."


When you have a resentment, a huge part of you shuts down. You become bitter and less able to express your love. You lose your joy for life. You put up walls of protection and you make your life more difficult.

Letting go of a resentment is not for the benefit of the other person. Letting go of a resentment is for you.

When you resent someone, you are saying very forcefully, that the other person is the problem, the cause and the fault. Not you. You forcefully blame the other person so you don't have to look at yourself.

If you looked at yourself, you would have to experience all the hurt from what happened. You would have to feel all the hurt of being not good enough, not worthy of love, or some other form of not okay. To avoid this hurt, you resent.

The first step in releasing a resentment is to be willing to feel this hurt. Look beneath the resentment and find the hurt. Find the feelings of being not good enough or not worth loving that you are avoiding. Then be willing to experience them. Cry if you can. Once you are willing to feel this hurt, you no longer need the resentment.

The next step is to notice that the person you resent has a very particular state of mind and a very particular way of seeing life. Notice that this person has a very limited awareness and acts totally consistent with his or her limited skills and ability.

Now notice that if this person was wiser and more aware, then he or she would be able to act very differently, but the person isn't wiser and more aware. This person only has the limited awareness that he or she has.

Notice that this person is doing the very best he or she can with his or her very limited ability. Notice how much this person suffers as a result of his or her limited equipment.

Now ask yourself....

  • Are you willing to forgive this person for not being wiser and more aware? 
  • Are you willing to forgive this person for acting consistent with his or her limited ability?
  • Are you willing for forgive this person for the damage that was caused?

Remember - forgiveness is for you. Forgiveness is a choice. Let go of it and get on with your life.