Mistakes are nothing more than an opportunity for improvement.
There are very few things in this world that are unforgivable if we are sincere in our attempt to do better. That said, other people may not forgive us, but, if we are honest about our error, if we admit fault, and if we try to make amends by changing our behavior, that cannot be our primary concern. Our focus must remain on being better and doing better.
The fact is that everyone makes mistakes. Everyone does something wrong, sometime, to somebody. No one is perfect. What separates the righteous and unrighteous is often simply a matter of his or her intention, willingness, and ability to improve. Even with this, even with the purest of motives and most virtuous of actions, not everyone will like us, accept us, or forgive us. They too are imperfect.
Keeping this in mind, knowing that we will fail. Knowing that we will falter. Knowing that we will never be all that we can be to all people, we must ourselves be willing to forgive. How, if we understand the depth our own imperfection, can we not also be willing to understand that of another person.
This does not mean that we must continuously associate with those who have wronged us, especially if it was done so maliciously and unapologetically. It does mean, however, that we must rid ourselves of ill will, indignation, and resentment because, being imperfect ourselves, not forgiving others for their flaws is hypocrisy. The only way for us to be forgivable is to first be forgiving.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
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