I can forgive everyone but can I forgive myself? (3 of Pentacles & Prince of Wands)

Secret Forest 3 of Pentacles

I had an interesting response today while reading SARK’s Great Life Letter #16 which addresses the issue of self-forgiveness.  As I was reading her letter I felt myself tearing up and becoming emotional (verkplempt is a great Yiddish word for this experience).  Looking at these cards today I can see how they fit in with this theme too.

The Secret Forest 3 of Pentacles reversed shows a small bird surrounded by a vine of leaves or a wreath extending from branches on a nearby tree.  It looks like the bird has quite a task before it to break free of the vine/wreath.  I think this card symbolizes where I am right now – I’m a damaged, wounded bird who isn’t sure how to get free of the harsh self-judgment that surrounds me.  For so long I’ve looked at self-help books that focused on healing from the harsh words of others but my biggest challenge is my tendency towards being judgmental.  I find it hard to forgive myself when I screw up because it means I’m human – flawed and imperfect.  That’s often difficult for me to accept.

This is further complicated by the fact that, much like the Knight of Wands, I prefer to charge ahead, to do rather than to be introspective about things.  Why spend time reflecting on the wounds of the past when they can’t be changed?  Why keep going over the same ground when the battle is done?

That can only carry me forward for so long.  My self-defenses are pretty strong but not against myself.  I’m my own Trojan horse.  I’ve set booby traps in my psyche and they explode at unexpected moments.  Why is it so hard for me to forgive myself?  To be as kind to myself as I might be to someone else?  Or (to paraphrase a Catholic prayer) “forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me”.  That’s easier said than done but I have taken some baby steps in the right direction and I’ll continue to do so.  That wounded bird does still need some protection to survive the harshness in the world but soon she’ll grow strong, spread her wings and fly to the sky.

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