The other day I read a true story about a Japanese fighter pilot who crashed on Guam island in World War 2 in 1945. Not long after his plane went down the war ended and planes dropped pamphlets everywhere to notify people that the war was over. This pilot saw the pamphlets but decided not to believe it. He thought that it was a trick to capture him and he was not willing to betray his country. The soldiers name was Yokoi Shoichi and for more than 2 decades he survived alone and isolated on the island braving the worst of nature and eating whatever he could catch. In 1972, after 27 years of isolation and surviving on the island a hunting party discovered him. For 27 years his family and friends went on with their lives, celebrating birthdays, weddings, births and supporting each other through trials and tribulations while their friend was living a life of scarcity, loneliness and hardship.
It made me think of how we sometimes choose to stay on our own little islands of un-forgiveness, bitterness, self-pity and regret.
Carl Jung wrote this profound piece that really nails it down for me.
“The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” (Matt 5:22) and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.”
Carl. G. Jung
Loving, accepting and forgiving ourselves can be the hardest thing to do, but how can we truly love, serve and celebrate others despite their faults and shadows if we can’t do it to ourselves?
How long do we have to live on our islands of scarcity, self-abuse and self-pity before we deserve to go free and embrace a new life of abundance and love and joy.