Why is the practice of self-kindness, or self-acceptance important? How does it help us in this life and in future lives?
Since I began giving readings in 1994, I found many people bringing questions to the reading around the topic of what was wrong with them - what they may have done in a previous life to warrant having the problems that they were experiencing in their present life. It is a powerful question to ask and speaks of the possibility of having enough awareness to take responsibility of being the creator of one's circumstances. In viewing the past lives, there were events that they did not forgive themsevles for. As such, the mind was imprinted with guilt or criticism at the time of death. Their unforgiving mind, toward themselves or toward another, attracted another life with either an overtly critical parent, whose message was, "There is something wrong with you". Or they may have attracted a parent who had high expectations of them, which is another form, though very subtle, of criticism. In effect, the message is, "Don't fail in life". They go through life thinking something is wrong with them, or they are on a driven path to succeed at something, and as such, experience constant discontent. They could also attract a partner who they are discontented with and critical of, or a partner who is discontented with them. Any of those scenarios played out don't produce a calm mind, or very much happiness, and can be quite emotionally and mentally exhausting.
It is not necessary to know what the events in a past life were that we did not forgive ourselves for. We can work in our current lives with practicing self-acceptance or self-kindness with each moment that arises. We can use our developing awareness to listen to our thoughts to see if they are harsh or critical toward ourselves. If our minds are judging negatively what we are doing, what we are feeling - judging all the ways we, or the way that our lives are not OK, we can assume we are not accepting ourselves with the energy and intention of compassion.
It is very difficult to be truly compassionate toward anyone else, if we have not learned how to be compassionate toward ourselves. In the Bible, Jesus states, "Love your neighbor as yourself". So the question to ask is, how can we love our neighbors, if we don't love or accept ourselves? In fact, if we are can't accept ourselves or our lives, we aren't even able to be present in the moment, as the moment is just too painful.
In essence, there is nothing wrong with you, and there never was. It is just negative thinking directed toward the self, and then sometimes, outwards towards others. Our minds (and we are not our minds) are nothing but a bundle of thoughts - good thoughts, bad thoughts, and neutral thoughts. So, changing our thoughts to become kind thoughts about ourselves is a practice of mental reprogramming, and the energy that fuels the practice comes from the heart. The loving heart produces a loving mind. This is the beginning of unveiling the compassion that was always within us; it was just clouded over by negative thinking. The practice always begins towards ourselves, and eventually the mind begins seeing everyone and everything in a positive light.