Monday, April 8, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Guilt

Another emotion that can keep you stuck in your current situation is guilt. It's not as direct as fear, but in fact, it's much more damaging because of it.

Guilt never only comes at you from one direction. Once it has you questioning yourself, it multiplies until you question every single thing you're doing.

This is especially difficult in the beginning stages of taking charge of your life. You're just learning to spread you're wings. But suddenly, it feels wrong to want to leave the nest.

Even though you know it's not. 

You need to watch out for those closest to you. I'm not saying they're out to get you, but they can and often will level absolutely devastating attacks on you.

One particular favorite is something like: "But you were always fine with it before..." or  "I don't understand why you're doing this..." All meant to imply that you're a selfish little fool for wanting to improve your life.

My personal favorite is: "No one gets to live the life you wanted. Why won't you just get used to it and go on?"

The fact is. Wanting to live a better life is not selfish. Wanting keep people back from reaching their potential because you're uncomfortable change is.

You have nothing to feel guilty about.

But there's another aspect to guilt that's even more devastating. Self-imposed guilt. See, when we start out in taking charge, we make mistakes. We stumble. Sometimes badly. And then, for some odd reason buried deep in our psyches, we flagellate ourselves for it. How could we not see this coming. Look at how terribly I failed. How can I take charge of my life if I can't even control what I eat?

And then... people give up. In droves.

That's why guilt is absolutely toxic to your life. So you made a mistake. It's okay to feel bad about it. But you can't let yourself drown in guilt. Because it won't get you anywhere.

Much more constructive is to spend time looking at why you stumbled and struggled. If you learn a lesson, the mistake isn't so bad. AND you'll be less likely to stumble over the exact same thing twice. Oh, you will maybe struggle with something similar, but never the same thing as before. And if you do, you learn again and keep going.

But don't collapse and cry because of guilt. If you move forward, guilt fades. And you'll have a lot more to show for it. 

Prayer


Two prayers today, depending on your current situation. You can also compare them if you're getting guilt from all directions. 

Lord, 

I'm sorry for making this mistake. I really should have seen it coming, I know. In fact, I feel a right idiot for missing the obvious until it was too late. 

Please Lord, forgive me for this mistake and help me to forgive myself for making it. I want to learn from this, Lord. I want to keep going on, living the way you intended me to. Please help me. 

and/or

Lord, 

Please help me with these people who are making the process even more difficult. Work in their hearts, Lord. Show them the way, that they can either support me or leave me alone. 

And if that isn't your will, Lord, strengthen me so that I can better deal with the guilt they're trying to lay on me. Please help me to remember that I love them, and that right now, they're just scared. That sometimes, they think they're acting in my interest. 

I pray this in Jesus's name. 

Amen.


10 comments:

S. L. Hennessy said...

I have HUGE problems with guilt. It definitely rules my actions from time to time.

Happy A through Z blogging!
http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

Teresa Coltrin said...

We have to be careful of guilt especially when it leads to shame, I think.

Julie Luek said...

I have a love-hate relationship with guilt. Probably more often than not, as you pointed out, guilt is self-induced, a consequence of listening to everyone's voice but my own and therefore completely defeating. However, I think we are so quick to dismiss the pricks at our conscience that can also guide us and help us make morally conscious or service-related decisions. Not all guilt is bad. It's also a compass.

mrkelly2u said...

I agree with Julie - sometimes Guilt can compel you to do the right thing - but you're right, it can also be very destructive. When making a big life-change I think it's important to try to empathise with those closest to you - it's usually fear, not only for themselves but for your situation, that makes them question your actions and creates guilt.

You can only be true to yourself if you are going to lead a successful and happy life.

Insightful post. Thanks.

Linda Fischer said...

I love your prayers at the end. Thanks for writing this!

I'm visiting from A-Z

L

Misha Gericke said...

Dealing with guilt in a healthy way definitely takes lots of practice. Hope you keep trying until you succeed. :-)

Misha Gericke said...

Definitely.

Misha Gericke said...

I agree with you that our consciences are our moral guides. But the problem I tried to bring across is when our conscience goes into overdrive and pushes us down. Then it's not guiding us. It's trapping us in place.

Misha Gericke said...

Definitely. People closest to us think they're doing us a favor by questioning our motives.

It's what we do with it that really creates the problem, if you think about it.

Misha Gericke said...

Thanks for stopping by, Linda. Glad you're enjoying my posts.