Have you ever felt really guilty about something you did in the past? And then, held onto that guilt for weeks, months or even years afterwards?
Last night, I was writing in my journal, when I realised that I still carried around this enormous sense of guilt for something that had happened over a year ago.
It’s quite personal, but I’ll go into it, as briefly as I can.
If you’ve been journeying alongside me for a while, you will know that early last year, I went to Australia to spend some time with my mother. We have had a really tumultuous relationship since my teens, and I thought “Hey, I’m all grown up now. Maybe if I just love her until there’s nothing left but love, we can fix this, and have a beautiful, loving, kindred mother-daughter relationship.”
Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way. We went around in the same old circle we always do.
My mother fears rejection more than anything else in the world, and so, to protect herself from what she fears the most, she rejects those around her that love her, over and over, and over again. With violent words, unkind gestures, with hate and anger.
My inner wisdom tells me that she does this because she wants to be proven to, that she is loveable, and worthy of love. Which of course, she is. But, as anyone who has done even the tiniest little bit of work on themselves, would know, you can only experience the love that you believe you deserve.
No matter how much someone else loves you, you have to love you, first. Otherwise you never get to experience it.
This has been one of my patterns: Thinking that I can rescue someone with love.
It used to play out consistently in my personal relationships, until I became aware of it, and cleared it. It wasn’t until I spent time with my mum again, that I realised that this unhealthy pattern originated with her, and still needed to be cleared at a deeper level.
So I made a really challenging decision.
I decided that her behaviour towards me was unacceptable and destructive. And that I was not allowing it be a part of my life any longer. I decided to stop having contact with her for a while. And within this choice, ,y mothers fear of rejection, played out, in reality.
Now, we all know that a “good daughter” doesn’t say “no”, to her mother. Herein was the core of my guilt. I want to be “good”. But at the cost of what?
Guilt is an emotion that we carry around with us, when something we have done or said, is out of alignment with our beliefs or values and therefore creates cognitive dissonance.
Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviours which produces a feeling of discomfort: guilt.
There are 3 reasons why you might feel guilty:
1. Sometimes you feel guilty when you recognise that your choices and behaviours have been out of line, because you have violated your own ethical code. This is a healthy recognition of behaviour that you can change by making a different kind of choice in the future.
2. Other times you feel guilty because you are maintaining your boundaries, and saying “no” to someone. This is a more complicated type of guilt, because you feel cognitive dissonance for having decided to protect yourself from someone else that is violating your ethical code.
3. And the third reason you might feel guilty is because you are under the assumption, and take responsibility for someone else’s misfortunes, or challenges, believing that you have caused them. An important note here: No one is ever responsible for anything except their own life experience. Read this, to understand why.
While, the reason we feel guilt, is to bring to our awareness that something we are doing or experiencing is out of alignment with our values, holding onto guilt is incredibly unhealthy and destructive. What we need to do is recognise the lesson that we are learning from this experience, change our beliefs around the situation, and release the feelings of guilt.
In today’s video, I share with you how to free yourself from guilt, in 5 easy steps.
- Acknowledge the guilt.
- Get clear in why you feel guilty.
- Decide that you are ready to let go of the guilt.
- Write a positive intention on releasing guilt.
- Trust that your intention is being realised, and let it go.