Don’t beat yourself down – pick yourself up
When we make mistakes, we naturally feel annoyed, even infuriated, with ourselves. While these feelings can help if they prompt us to self-improvement, they can harm if they push us into self-condemnation, making us convict ourselves as worthless good-for-nothings.
Such paralyzing self-condemnation comes from a mind infected by the mode of ignorance. The same mind that made us slip and fall in the first place now keeps us down by beating us with the stick of self-recrimination. Thus, the mind misleads us twice – first into committing mistakes and then into locking our thoughts in those past mistakes, leaving us morose and dejected. The Bhagavad-gita (18.35) indicates that due to the mode of ignorance, we misuse our power of determination to stay habitually morose. Though such feelings militate against our innate joy-seeking nature, we determinedly hold on to them, thinking in a twisted way that we deserve the misery due to our mistakes.
The same mind that made us slip and fall in the first place now keeps us down by beating us with the stick of self-recrimination.
Actually, what we deserve is not self-recrimination, but self-realization. We need to realize our true nature as souls who have free will and who, being eternal parts of Krishna, can access his omnipotent grace. No matter what our past mistakes, we always have the free will to make better choices now. Though our conditionings may push us to do certain undesirable things, we can counter-push using our free will. And we can increase manifold our counter-pushing force by taking shelter of Krishna.
The more we realize our spiritual nature, the more we can choose what we think about at the present moment without letting our conditionings determine it. Instead of thinking about our past mistakes and beating ourselves down, we can choose to think of Krishna and his unfailing love for us. Such spiritual positive thinking will give us the strength to pick ourselves up and march towards improvement and achievement.
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