We should be kinder to ourselves.
We do not need to be pampered, coddled, or spoiled.
But, we do need to leave ourselves room to breathe and to grow.
Most likely, we are doing our best.
Even when we are not, we know it.
There is no use in being overly critical of ourselves for our mistakes, failings, and shortcomings.
Doing so does not change what we have or have not done.
Self-criticism for the sake of self-criticism does not lead us to the change we wish to make in ourselves, our lives, or our relationships.
It keep us stuck in our past and in our errors.
If we wish to grow and change for the better, we need to offer ourselves the same patience, compassion, and forgiveness we would a close friend.
As long as we are well-intended, if we have done our best to right any wrongs along the way, and our future actions reflect this, we should move forward knowing that we have done what we could, knowing that the lesson itself is part of the journey.
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 Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.*
*Robert Van Valkenburgh’s black and white photography can be seen at My Darkness To Light
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