Compassionate Self-Forgiveness (Part 1)

I was reflecting today on my dog Ringo, who died after being hit by a car when I was fifteen. As I ran to his side, he acknowledged my presence with one last wag of his tail. I was devastated. I blamed myself for his death. I also blamed my mom, who was at work. I believed that, if she’d been home, this never would have happened. I thought Ringo shouldn’t have died when he did.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience rather than humans with spirits. That’s a huge difference, so take a moment to let that sink in. We are eternal spiritual beings and our human experience is temporary. And, truth be told, we don’t know what anyone is here to learn nor do we know what circumstances will best provide spiritual growth in service to our highest good.

It’s precisely because we don’t know that it’s impossible to judge. When we think we know more than we do and we place a judgment on ourselves, on another, or on a situation, it feeds the ego, or the “small” self. The moment we enter into judgment, we’ve entered into duality, creating painful feelings of separation and suffering for ourselves.

It’s not the events in our lives that are the source of suffering. Said another way, it’s not what happens to us that causes us to suffer. We suffer because of the judgments we place. If we judge an event as “bad,” then we, too, feel bad. If we judge a situation as “horrible,” then we, too, feel horrible. Judgment is always at the root of an upset.

Have you ever noticed that making someone wrong disrupts inner peace? That’s because, as you separate yourself from someone through judgment, you’re disrupting your connection to your authentic nature, which is loving, accepting, kind, peaceful, generous, and compassionate. In Spiritual Psychology, we call this the Authentic Self, a state of consciousness beyond duality. It’s who you are beyond ego and personality. It’s the You that’s eternal.

Judgment is always at the root of inner disturbance. When our ideals are violated, for example, what’s violated is the way we think things should be, which is usually the way we were brought up, which we think is the right way. That’s not to condone bad behavior; it’s simply that, identifying the judgment and letting it go allows us to grow spiritually. Let me be clear: this doesn’t imply being a doormat.

Love is always available and always flowing. The question is, are we allowing it or blocking it? We block the flow of love and create unnecessary suffering when we judge ourselves, judge others, judge situations, or judge life. Self-forgiveness allows us to compassionately apply love to the places inside that hurt, allowing the flow of love. It’s a powerful tool in service to healing.

In part 2, I’ll demonstrate how to use compassionate self-forgiveness as a healing tool by modeling how I applied it to my experience with Ringo.

Copyright © 2009 by Irene Kendig

Irene Kendig

More Articles Written by Irene

Irene KendIg is an accomplished speaker, workshop facilitator, self acceptance coach, and award-winning author. She is a trained NLP Practitioner and certified Hypnotherapist, with a B.A. cum laude in Psychology from UCLA and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica (USM). As a self acceptance coach, Irene assists clients in identifying the judgments, misconceptions, and limiting beliefs that are the source of unnecessary suffering, and then facilitates healing through compassionate self-forgiveness, an elegant and graceful way of embracing what is, and a process at the very heart of Spiritual Psychology. Irene is dedicated to living and sharing the gifts of Spiritual Psychology, and is part of a team of USM graduate volunteers who have been bringing these principles and experiential practices to women inmates at one of the largest maximum security women’s prisons in the world, Valley State Prison for Women. The program has been nominated for a national award that recognizes excellence in prison reform programs. “Freedom to Choose,” a moving, 22-minute documentary that conveys the power of this work, was a winner in the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival: Irene is the author of Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead: Seven compelling dialogues that will transform the way you think about dying . . . and living. Released in April 2010, the book has won three national awards: Ms. Kendig has taught communication skills in both family and corporate settings. As a certified instructor for Parent Effectiveness Training (PET), she has presented programs to parents in the U.S. as well as in Latin America. As a senior corporate trainer for an international management consulting firm, she has delivered customer satisfaction, team building, and problem-solving trainings to a wide array of companies, including AAA, American Express, Avis, Lufthansa, Marriott, Oracle,Telecheck, Trane, and Tumi, with satisfaction ratings consistently over 95%. Ms. Kendig has also taught presentation skills to managers in Corporate America and is fluent in Spanish. She is the proud mother of two adult sons, David and Josh, and currently resides in northern Virginia with her husband Charles and their dog Scooter. Tune in to Irene on Open to Hope Radio Reach Irene at [email protected] or visit her website at


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  • Tom Newcastle says:

    Irene, this is fascinating. I see how my judgments about how life “should” be and how the people around me “should” behave leads to my disappointment and frustration. Now, how do I let go of these judgments while not being a doormat, as you described?

    • Irene Kendig says:


      Thank you for your interest in my article. I’m glad you find it fascinating. So do I! Once we become aware that judgment is at the root of all unnecessary suffering, all that’s left is to become diligent “gardeners,” so to speak.

      Your question addresses how to let go of these judgments. In my second article entitled “Compassionate Self-Forgiveness Part II,” I describe the process using a personal example.

      Please feel free to contact me with any further questions. If you’re interested in acquiring expertise with compassionate self-forgiveness, I am a self acceptance coach and teach compassionate self forgiveness as part of my coaching. If this resonates with you and you’d like to explore the possibility of working together, please contact me for a free 30-minute consult.

      Thanks for connecting.

      All the best,


  • Chai Tea says:

    Thank you for writing this. It makes me think about how I can help myself. I am in the process of grieving my father, and I regret things that I did not do. But I like what you said about how our nature is loving, and judging is against our nature.

    My father believed in that, too. He was a natural healer, and he told me once, “Love is the key to healing.” I am taking that quote to heart and trying to love more, but your article really nails it in saying, “Self-forgiveness allows us to compassionately apply love to the places inside that hurt, allowing the flow of love. It’s a powerful tool in service to healing.”

    Thank you again. I will check out part 2.

    take care.

    • Irene Kendig says:

      Thank you for your generosity of spirit. I am so very grateful that you found value in the article.

      What a wise man your father was. His statement that “love is the key to healing,” is so very true!

      I am reminded of something my mentor told a friend of mine when she asked how to move through the grieving process. He said, “The way you move through the grieving process is to cry all of your tears.” He, too, was wise.

      I send you the warmest of embraces.

      All the best,