I have heard many of the so-called saints and gurus giving sermons and lectures on forgiveness and forgiving others. But I have rarely heard these people teaching people to learn to forgive themselves. And the truth is, unless you have learned to forgive yourself, all acts of forgiveness are sheer nonsense and hypocrisy. It is plain and simple as can be: how can a man/woman who does not know how to forgive himself/herself have the capacity to forgive others? It would be like expecting a person who does not know English to teach English to somebody else.
I am not saying you should murder or abuse somebody and then forgive yourself unconditionally. That would be an exceptional case, and life isn't measured on the basis of exceptions. Life accounts for generality and the masses, and I too am writing on behalf of the masses. The problem is that when people backslide even in small ways, they start degrading themselves, and getting annoyed and frustrated with themselves. We have mastered the great art of making a hill out of an anthill.
Think, for example, of the boy who had expected to come first in his class but comes in second instead, and then gets depressed. Why? So what if you come in second, or even fail? What if a venture you've counted on suffers heavy losses? So what? Why this vindictive attitude towards yourself? Don't you love and respect yourself? Don't you have trust and faith in yourself? Just because you fell down, does that mean you should decide not to stand back up? Is it written in the Bible, Bhagvadgeeta, Koran, Talmud, or any religious book that if you fall and fail you are guaranteed eternal damnation? If such a thing is not mentioned even in such holy books, then why does man go on punishing himself?
A fortnight back one of the two biggest mortgage companies in the world filed for bankruptcy. But does that mean that these big companies, and the American economy, will never revive again? Did not the auto-giant Chrysler declare bankruptcy in the early 80's, only to revive with government help and improving markets?
Realize that life is like an irregular sinusoidal wave made up of crests and troughs. Sometimes there is a rise and sometimes there is a fall. I have heard an adage which says, "After every night there comes the day." I find this adage to be incomplete! I would rather put it this way: "After every night there comes the day, and after every day comes the night." For me this makes a complete thought. When you become aware of this truth, then even when you fall, you'll know that when the right time comes you'll be back on the spot.
Always remember: to make others happy you have to be happy first. If the other person is crying and you too are wailing, how will you make that person laugh? So always prioritize on becoming happy first. And in the same way, prioritize forgiving yourself – not just once, but UNCONDITIONALLY!