"These two stages sum up the whole of the spiritual life: when we contemplate ourselves we are troubled, and our sadness saves us and brings us to contemplate God; that contemplation in turn gives us the consolation of the joy of the Holy Spirit. Contemplating ourselves brings fear and humility; contemplating God brings us hope and love."
- From a sermon by St Bernard of Clairvaux, on the stages of contemplation
Assuming that we see truthfully, we cannot help but note our imperfections, particularly in past decisions and actions we've taken. But we go further if we have faith, that God saves, and in Jesus Christ we have the grace to improve, and what disappoints us in ourselves will be overcome with patience, effort and contemplation. Jesus is the image of the Father but he is also our image, in our rebirth as children of God, so in him the two images meet. And so we can go from disappointment at what we have been to amazement at what we are becoming, particularly in the ways of Love: forgiveness, patience, kindness, courage, selflessness, humility, joy, perseverance. All these become ours as we become Christ through daily practice and contemplative prayer.