I read a great blog last week by Colin Pearce, where he made the distinction that guilt is not a feeling … it’s a state. The example he used was when someone is pronounced “guilty” by a court of law it means they “… broke the law and it is now declared”. He goes on to say that feeling something about the declaration – remorseful, angry, humiliated, etc. – is not mandatory … it’s a choice. Guilt is state and how you feel about it is up to you.
The way I see it, guilt is like yoghurt … it has a use-by date or it goes off. It serves an essential purpose and that is to confront you with a truth about your behaviour that is not in alignment with who you are. And it provides the opportunity to take responsibility for whatever you have done, to make amends and choose again to BE who you are, to stand for your grandest version of the greatest vision you can have of yourself in each and every moment.
Yet, so often, feelings of remorse, regret, anger etc. become all consuming in the midst of a guilty reaction. Shame is usually the catalyst and when it arises, needs to be acknowledged, allowed and released … so breathe and allow and breathe and allow and breathe … until the energy shifts and you can see your way through the illusion of fear back to love.
It’s not easy, particularly when you have a strong story to reinforce your feelings … and it is possible to allow the feelings to come and go by simply remembering that only love is real and everything else is simply a call to love.
Choose to BE love as the context for who you are and do lovingly all that you do – including responding to your feelings – and you will experience your feelings as a resource for growth rather than a hindrance to your joy.
Pain in life is inevitable, but misery is optional.Henry Ward Beecher