Recently a friend realized that years ago he had done serious mistakes in his relationships with his family, but now it’s too late because his father is no more. He lamented, “I wish I could hold his hands and beg forgiveness but now I only regret that I behaved badly with him”

Life’s twists and turns can unsettle the most stoic; decades of hurt and resentment often turn ugly even with the otherwise most successful people in this world. How do we treat these shocks and painful realizations that dawn upon us in our life’s sojourn?

We need to balance our understanding with both the thoughts of how we have made many mistakes in life, and also how our life is a special blessing of God upon us.

If we ignore the mistakes we’ve made, we’d get shameless and never add joy to others’ lives. It would also be a painful road filled with lack of clarity on who we really are and what we really want. On the other hand if we list all our mistakes, brood over them, and regret sorrowfully, we’d get depressed. Therefore we need to also constantly remind ourselves how Krishna has blessed us with the ability to recognize our mistakes, he has given us a chance to not repeat them with others. No mistake we make is so severe that we can’t turn to Krishna and beg forgiveness. Turning to God means we’d instantly feel redeemed. And the peace and serenity that accompanies our approaching Krishna helps us love and serve others selflessly. To translate this practically, we can write regular gratitude journals, where we could thank Krishna for all the wonderful gifts He has given us. Gratitude softens the heart, and helps us celebrate life.

Knowing our mistakes keeps us grounded, and feeling grateful to Krishna keeps us happy. Humility and gratitude are thus the two most essential qualities needed to experience deep, lasting happiness.

My friend kept a gratitude journal and recently he expressed, “yes, when I remember how decades ago I was harsh with my parents, I feel sorry and am also able to empathise with others’ struggles. Also knowing I am blessed with such nice association of devotees and the opportunity to serve keeps me happy.”

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