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Practicing Justice with Ourselves and Others

In keeping with the being gentle with ourselves and others idea presented in my previous post entitled "May is Mental Health Awareness Month - Be Gentle!" I want to write a post inspired by the Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

In this inspiring work, that I would recommend to anyone, Ruiz presents four "Agreements" that will lead us to personal freedom. They include "Be Impeccable with Your Word", "Don't Take Anything Personally", "Don't Make Assumptions" and "Always Do Your Best".

One concept that has really stood out to me is the idea of being "just" with ourselves and others. Ruiz presents this idea in the first chapter of the book entitled "Domestication and the Dream of the Planet." Ruiz asserts that through "domestication" or growing up in this world and assimilating into whatever culture, religion or ethnicity that we belong to, we are taught and ascribe to "agreements" that we hold as true or "the law". Common ones include a specific faith, gender roles and expectations or other standards of behavior. When we begin to challenge or go against any agreements that we have been trained to accept or accept on our own we feel unsafe and may even punish ourselves.

Ruiz captures this concept in one powerful quote:

“True justice is paying only once for each mistake. True injustice is paying more than once for each mistake.”

I believe that this concept extends beyond simply being gentle with ourselves and others as it requires us to be forgiving.

How often have we mentally or even physically punished ourselves or others for making a mistake? Maybe we repeatedly use negative self talk with ourselves each time that we remember saying or doing something wrong. Maybe we deprive ourselves of something or inflict physical harm when we think about this mistakes. Perhaps we punish our romantic partners by constantly reminding them of a time that they hurt us.

I challenge myself, and anyone reading this post to own up to our mistakes, accept any consequences and extend any necessary apologies when we make a mistake. Once this is done, we must free ourselves from it! Be gentle. We are human, we make mistakes. We must not dwell on them! This will only make us feel bad. If we feel bad, then it is hard to do good.

What do you want to forgive yourself for? How will you practice justice with yourself? Comment via Facebook Comments below!

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