When I forgive myself, I’m letting go of a certain kind of useless guilt – not the simple awareness of responsibility (that’s precisely what I’m accepting and acknowledging), but a self-regarding and sometimes self-dramatising guilt that leads nowhere in particular.
While I hang on to this guilt, I am subtly presenting myself as having done something that not even God can forgive it. Although this behaviour has all the external appearance of humility, it’s really a clever and externally pious way of making myself the centre of the universe – the only person in all creation who is beyond the reach of God.
There are times when it is hard to believe in the future, when we are temporarily just not brave enough. When this happens, concentrate on the present. Cultivate le petit bonheur (the little happiness) until courage returns. Look forward to the beauty of the next moment, the next hour, the promise of a good meal, sleep, a book, a movie, the likelihood that tonight the stars will shine and tomorrow the sun will shine. Sink roots into the present until the strength grows to think about tomorrow.
This is one of my favourite quotations; it reminds me that “this too will pass.” It says I will survive, and that to do so, I remember to live in the present, taking one step at a time. Critically, it also reminds me that focusing on little things will be what gets me through “right now.” At a time, when it is both easy and natural to concentrate on all that is bad or unknown, or on my fears for tomorrow, if I open my eyes, I will still see things to be happy for. It got me out of depression in 2006 and has served me well since. I don’t know if you’re going through a difficult time just now, or if that lies just ahead of you, but I hope these words help to encourage you to keep going. x