I think it would be a timely thing for you to cease the self-recriminations about things- the past is past, now is now, future is future.
The past is sealed, dated, and notarized- filed away. The future is little more than a ghost of the imagination, of potential potential. Any focus or energy we direct to either of those is wasted energy if it goes beyond idle reflection. Both drain the significance of the moment- all this to say the gift of hindsight is truly a gift only if we tame it and don’t allow it to become anything more than the elevator music of our lives.
Despite appearances, you own the past- it doesn’t own you. You have the power to force it into the back room closet or allow it into the dining room to eat at the table with you or into the living room to sleep on the couch and get into the way of your life and the lives of others.
The concept of deserving kindness is another one that’s destructive to the growth of the soul. We don’t go through life on some roller-coaster of worth or value based on our behavior of today, of last week.
I don’t know whether the physical manifestation of each of us in this reality is of equal value or not, but I think I can say with certainty the issue isn’t whether a person deserves kindness or not. Certainly each does. Sometimes we fail to remember this- some of us never learn it. You aren’t a paragon of virtue in this regard, and neither am I. Few people are. In the coming times some people might demand to be killed, by their behavior. Probably in those circumstances even, the real challenge isn’t in the avoidance of our responsibility to slaughter another human – the challenge will be to do it with kindness in our hearts, without malice, hatred, rancor. With the same respect for another human who demands the cessation of his life through his choices as we have for the chicken-killing hawk, the rabbit, doe, a fawn that steps into our sights at a time when our bodies demand a meal- the mouse which by its nature chews its way into our corn.
All this to say that unless we purge ourselves of the concept of whether we deserve kindness or respect for our own choices and behavior we’ll be unlikely to overcome the far more difficult challenge of giving respect and kindness to others when they make choices which are so contrary to our own interests or values. Not to say our responsibility doesn’t extend to looking out for our own interests forcibly if needed- just that when we do we dassen’t ever fail to do so in the recognition that this is a fellow soul on the long path- that where he is we’ve probably been or will be in some other life.
Despite our ego-driven beliefs to the contrary, most of the things we do or say, kind or unkind, have little importance in the lives of others. In those rare instances where this isn’t true the reason isn’t in us, but rather in the person who chooses to make it important. We have little influence on that choice in another person—rightfully so—the business of our lives is our own choices, which are plenty challenges enough.
So, when we choose to be kind and show genuine respect to others it has little to do with the other person or that person’s behavior- it’s a kindness to ourselves, mainly. A recognition of our own thorny path- our own failures, and therefore a willingness to accept that other person and the thorny path that person walks.