Guilt! It may not be a four-letter word, but its effects on the body, mind and emotions are deep. It used to be accepted as a way to keep us on the path, but upon reflection I realized that its effect is the complete opposite.
Think about it! When you feel guilty, what are you feeling inside? Are you feeling Love, Joy, and the communion with the Divine? Or rather are you feeling unworthy, unloved and overall 'not good enough?' Those feelings definitely do not represent peace, love, and bliss.
Look at your own life and ask yourself what things you feel guilty about. I suggest you make a list. Then ask yourself if there is anything you can do NOW to change those situations. If there is, then go ahead and do it. If not, then realize that the past is 'over and done with' and that nothing will be gained by feeling guilty. Then, make a second list which will address the things you feel others 'should' feel guilty about. And then ask the same question. "Is there anything I can do now to change the situation?" If not, let it go.
Using Guilt as an Insurance Policy?
I recall situations in my past where I felt that if I let go of my guilt or of my 'putting a guilt-trip' on someone else, the situation would repeat itself. So, guilt was like an insurance policy or protection. If I had guilt about something, then that would prevent the event from re-occurring. Now, I realize that the opposite is true. When we feel guilty about something, we keep that thought-form in our mind and, consequently, draw it to us. What you focus on expands. That explains why people keep going through the same experiences over and over again.
The best gift you can give your self and others is to let go of guilt (and blame which is guilt in reverse). . Whether you are harboring it within yourself as unworthiness or whether you feel resentment towards others, do yourself and your loved ones a favor and give up guilt! It serves no purpose other than make everyone it touches miserable. It does not make us a better person. It only reinforces our belief that we are 'not good enough' and thus don't deserve love, peace, prosperity, etc., or that others do not deserve our love.
Guilt Eats Away at the Soul
Guilt is like a cancer eating away at the soul. It diminishes feelings of self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, and deservability. When directed towards others, it eats away at trust and love. Guilt is a punishment you have inflicted on yourself and on others. Punishment only serves to create deception and attempts at outsmarting the 'punisher.' Think of how children (and sometimes adults) react to punishment. They either hide and repeat the same behavior hoping they won't get caught, or they figure out a way to "fool you" into thinking they are "behaving".
We are not the judge and jury. We need to realize that everyone, including ourselves, are students in this game of Life, and that as such we make 'mis-takes.' In movies, sometimes many mis-takes are necessary before an acceptable scene is created. So it is with our lives. Mis-takes are only learning opportunities. There is no need to inflict guilt upon ourselves or others for an error committed in the past.
We naturally need to do something many times before perfecting it. Think of learning to walk, or riding a bike, or sailing, or anything that we learn. We are rarely perfect at it the first time. So why should our daily experiences be any different? If we were already perfectly loving beings, we would have graduated from this school called planet earth, and moved on to "our reward".
Stop Being Hard on Yourself
So stop being so hard on yourself. Rather than putting so much energy into giving up chocolates, it is better to put your energy towards giving up guilt, and then you'll find your craving for chocolates (for example) will diminish and you'll be able to enjoy them much more when you do choose to have some, and you'll also feel less of an urge to eat the whole box.
Live, Love, and Enjoy everything you do... whether it be eating, working, playing, exercising, overeating, overworking, goofing off, or being a couch potato... let go of the guilt, enjoy it all and you'll find your 'need' for the no-no's diminishing along with the guilt.
Have fun! Love Yourself! Remember, you are an innocent child of God. And being a child, you are entitled to mis-takes and you are also entitled to love and pleasure. Go for it!
Master healer and metaphysical teacher Meg Losey experienced her own life crisis in which she lost everything -- her house, her business, and her relationship and was forced to learn how to accept this devastating situation. In The Art of Living Out Loud, Meg describes how she learned to live an authentic life, from this traumatic experience. She guides readers through the process of coming clean with ourselves, accepting who we are, discovering our purpose and developing the courage to embody it.
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About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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