Holding Onto Guilt
We all have, at one time or another, experienced guilt on some level. Guilt is the natural result of negative thoughts or actions, and is part of human nature. If we keep holding onto guilt feelings, it could control the way we live our life in the future.
Letting go can be really hard for some of us. There are different kinds of guilt that can haunt our lives constantly. Some of us hold onto guilt for things we have done, for feeling that we didn’t do enough, or we regret something that we’ve done or said. We can feel guilty about not raising our children right, for not telling a loved one how much we love them before they passed away, for not investing more into our relationship, and the list goes on.
What we need to understand is that feeling guilty may cause us to adopt a negative mindset, and can make us unproductive, and lower our self confidence. I believe that forgiving yourself, just like you would forgive a friend, is an important part of learning how to deal with guilt. Pain is the energy that keeps our ego alive, and, if we don’t take control, our ego keeps creating thoughts that makes us feel guilty and unhappy. The best way to fight feelings of guilt is through self-forgiveness.
When we hold onto guilt, we are usually withdrawn, more critical, and less open to new experiences. People around us like our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends end up suffering as well. We should reflect when we have done something wrong in order to grow from the experience, rather than nurturing negative feelings, because those negative feelings, could cause us to make the same mistakes, again and again. By forgiving ourselves, we are able to take action that could bring good to others and to ourselves; we can change our ways, and understand that there is a very big difference between doing a bad thing, and being a bad person.
Journaling about your guilt can help you to start to understand it, and deal with it. Before writing down everything that you believe you did wrong, think about who was hurt by your actions, ask yourself why you’ve done things the way you did, and think about what you could have done differently. Expressing your feelings and externalising them, can make a big impact because it will stop your mind to keep obsessing over everything bad that has happened. Instead of suppressing negative emotions, we need to focus on eliminating those self-destructive ideas from the mind.
We can turn guilt feelings into positivity by seeking forgiveness from God, and seeking to change our behaviour. Understand that sometimes, you feel guilt for something that you feel you could have done differently, like in the event of passing of a loved one, but in reality, you are holding onto pain as an internalisation of the need to be responsible in the face of your own powerlessness. Maybe you think you could have prevented a loved one's death, that you did not treat this person the way you should have, that you never said how much you loved them, or you are not honouring them the way you should be. You need to think kind thoughts toward yourself, and show yourself some compassion. Afterlife is a place full of love and compassion. Part of our spiritual growth requires us to challenge negative thoughts that feeds our ego, and cultivating love. Forgiving yourself helps the healing process, and gives you the opportunity to accept the circumstances and let go, in order to be truly at peace.
Remember that when we keep holding on to the past, we risk carrying over all the emotional pain into any new experience in life, and our existing relationships. If you keep thinking about things you regret from your past, you need to also remind yourself that you most likely had a valid reason. We can only find peace once we accept that the past has happened, and now it’s time to turn the page, and understand that everything that has happened in your life, is a part of your story. You are now a product of all the lessons you’ve learned from your past mistakes. Speak to yourself with love and kindness, and ask God to guide you through the process and help you move towards a positive future.
Use meditation in order to turn your guilty thoughts into gratitude thoughts. I believe that guilt is an opportunity to acknowledge and rectify mistakes, and irrational thoughts. Letting go of guilt gives us freedom, and allow us to move forward. Your life can be much better when you decide that you don’t want to suffer, and start to love yourself more, in order to challenge the beliefs that make you suffer. God tells us that each day is a new day and a new opportunity to heal our soul from guilt.