Then she brightened and said that she had been able to forgive herself when she remembered something that I had told her helps me:
“I know that I’m a human being, that human beings are imperfect, and that therefore I’m imperfect.” That was an easy math equation (a=b, b=c, so a=c), but it did not seem to quiet my inner critic, who said “yeah, whatever, you shouldn’t have done X; you screwed up and are a miserable human being.” (I know, not much fun to live with!)
I came up with one more part: “this is the particular way that I’m imperfect (right now, sometimes, was last night, etc.).” Fortunately, there’s a logic in that statement that quiets the critic and I can let go.
“Yes,” she said, “I made a mistake, I’ve made amends, and now I’m OK.” And with that, she went on to enjoy the next part of her day, free from self-recrimination, fully available to the present moment.
Photo: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Portland, 2013, who freely admits to his own imperfection