C. S. Lewis
A friend and I were recently having a conversation about human life and the mistakes that we make. We all do it. I am not talking about small mistakes, but major ones, mistakes that indicate a loss of moral compass. Even the figures that we admire most are found to have had moral failings at some point; Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Gandhi. It does not matter. If you do further investigation you will find that they too were human and susceptible to human failings. Big ones.
My friend spoke of having C. S. Lewis as the one figure that was simply perfect in living out his expressed philosophy. He was shocked to read about elements of his private life that were incongruous to his teachings on spirituality. It is my impression that we fool ourselves and set unrealistic expectations.
If you have a dog that at least once a week tears up the garbage, you should not be shocked to find it torn up. If you are shocked to hear of some major mistake in a person’s past, you are simply being unrealistic. If you are living in guilt because you have failed in your own life you are simply perpetuating a cycle.
All of the great spiritual teachings all bring us to compassion. It must start with ourselves and work outward. Guilt simply encourages the target behavior, as does judgement. We move toward that which we have the greatest charge. Those we judge are prone to act in the way that meets our judgement, including ourselves.
Kindness, patience and forbearance are the most effective ways to get things done. It is the process that we come to understand the subject we wish to influence. In recognizing that even the famous are only human, we give ourselves permission as well.