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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Good-bye to Guilt


Today's word of the week is “guilt”. According to the second definition at Dictionary.com guilt is - “a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.” It is my experience that if there is one word in the English language that can destroy the best day in your life, it is this one.

I don't do guilt anymore. If I made a mistake, I am sorry. I will apologize, I will try to make amends if I can, and I will do my best never to make that same mistake again. But I will not feel guilty about it. Guilt is a destructive emotion. It destroys your soul from the inside out. Churches and religions feed on your guilt. They require it for their very existence, so they create it where it should never exist and try to force it down our throats as if there is some redeeming quality to either it or them. There is not.. Not when it comes to guilt. Guilt is like shame, they are both external emotions originating in judgment and ignorance, thrust upon us by others for their benefit. The only people who “should” feel guilty about what they do and who they are, are usually the ones who are imposing guilt upon others.

I am a strong advocate of taking ownership for your own life and your own actions. In my view, guilt prevents you from doing that. Energy wasted feeling guilty about our faults and failings is energy denied to the improvement of ourselves and the world around us. I choose to spend my energies on the latter, I have none left for guilt. By owning my own life, by taking responsibility for my choices and my path in life I have found a feeling of freedom that I really did not anticipate. Letting go of all of the negative words and emotions that held me prisoner in my own self-induced misery for so long allowed me to live for the first time in my life without fear, without shame, without guilt. By refusing to live my life any longer enslaved by the tyranny of guilt I found I no longer really cared if other people “liked” my life choices or not. This is my life to live, they have their own.

I am human. I will never be perfect. All I truly ever hope to be is just the best me that I can be. I will hurt people. I will break things. I will make mistakes. And every once in a while I am sure to make a complete and total disaster out of something. That is just part of being alive. Everybody does those things. Every single human being that has ever lived, or ever will live, does those things. And unless you intentionally set out to hurt other people on purpose, feeling guilty about doing it isn't going to do a damn bit of good for anyone.

So, basically what I am saying is … screw guilt. It has no place in a life well lived.


2 comments:

  1. Most of my "guilt" comes from my mother, "you don't call , you don't visit,etc" or from feeling of having failed my children in some way, even though they have grown into happy, healthy adults( I hope)Any hints to help stop the "guiltys" from occupying your head??

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  2. All I can tell you is what I did. Give the thoughts a name for their voice, and then tell them to STFU! Out loud if you have to. For me, the most destructive voice in my head was my brother "Allen", I finally reached a point where I just started saying "shut up Allen!" every time one of those negative or "guilty" thoughts entered my head. Yes, even out loud when necessary. It took a while, but it really did help. Your kids are fine, even though you probably did screw up a time or two (everybody does) and your Mom can always call you too. So let it go, tell it to shut up, and get on with living.

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