HOW COULD I HAVE KNOWN?

It’s quite easy to have God forgive a human being. It’s harder to have a human being forgive another human being. But guess what? It’s war when it comes to forgiving oneself. Trust me, we’re merciless judges of ourselves; there’s this annoying way we get to condemn ourselves whenever we err, far worse than God or other human being condemn us. Trust me, this doesn’t smell nice one bit.

Boy jilts girl and she spends forever taking it out on herself, blaming herself for everything that went wrong, and adjudging herself ‘problem girlfriend’ going forward. Student bags third class, and s/he concludes that brilliance is not one of his/her heritage. Someone gets to lose big in business and ends up tagging him/herself ‘big failure.’ And I ask you, what’s that one thing you feel terrible about yourself right now? What’s that major screw up that’s left you doubting your ability to make it to your next level of significance?

It’s OK, dear.

Lemme share with you what I do to that judge inside my head whenever it passes judgement on me for screwing up so badly. After reeling out all the cases against me, sometimes to the tune of 10 count-charges, and asking me to register my plea, all I simply say in response is: “How could I have known?” How could I’ve have known he was gonna betray me? How could I’ve known the relationship was gonna go sour? How could I’ve known that MMM was gonna pack up? How could I’ve known that he’s a fraud? How could I’ve known he’s a big fat liar? And then I’d say to the judge, “If I’d known better, I’d have done better and you know it.” And guess what? I get acquitted 90% of the time – the remaining 10% being those times when ignorance is not an excuse.

You see, the problem is that we take ourselves too seriously, that we expect too much from ourselves, that we overestimate our ‘know-what’ and overrate our ‘know-how.’ And then reality dawns on us! Our eyes are then opened to see how terrible we can be, how much the very best of our intentions can backfire, and how really much we’re yet to know.

Just try not to be so inconsiderate with yourself that you suddenly forget that to err is human. Don’t take yourself too seriously that you forget that there’s nothing really serious about this life.

I ask you, “How could you have known?” Cut yourself some slack joor.

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