ALL THE GOOD THINGS
The Babemba tribe of southern Africa has a social structure with an elementary criminal code. Their close community living makes harshness unnecessary. A visitor was deeply impressed by the tribe's handling of antisocial, delinquent behaviors, which are exceedingly infrequent.
When a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he/she is placed in the center of the village, alone, unfettered. All work ceases. All gather around the accused individual. Then each person of every age, begins to talk out loud to the accused. One at a time, each person tells all the good things the one in the center ever did in his/her lifetime.
Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. No one is permitted to fabricate, exaggerate or be facetious about accomplishments or positive aspects of the accused person.
The tribal ceremony often lasts several days, not ceasing until everyone is drained of every positive comment that can be mustered. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe. Necessity for such ceremonies is rare!
You know, that works for individuals as well as tribes. The next time you disappoint yourself in some way, instead of scolding yourself, try affirmation instead. Tell yourself all the good you have done - not as a way of excusing yourself but rather as a way of calling to mind the kind of person you are in your deepest nature. Being convinced of your own fundamental goodness will do more to rehabilitate you than harshness or self-punishment any day.