Wednesday, July 13, 2011

on Guilt..

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
What message is yearning inside you?  What is something you know deep in your soul?  Don’t look for someone else to describe it.  You do it.  Write it down.  Write it as a poem, a sentence or even just a string of words.  Just make sure you get it to paper. (Michael McFadden)

Guilt – Such a loaded concept.  Guilt has been a part of my life since I can remember. I didn’t grow up in a religious family; that didn’t happen until I was in my early teen years.  The guilt was there long before Billy Graham came to Oklahoma and my folks became believers.  It manifested itself in a sense of being less than anyone else.  I was painfully shy and withdrawn.  My parents didn’t intended to use guilt as means of control; their actions which triggered a guilt response in me were motivated out of a caring and love that wanted me to be a competent human being.  The “Why didn’t you…”; “you are lazy”; report cards from teachers stating “can do better” were positive intentions.  My internal experience concluded that I was faulty protoplasm.  I believed I had to justify everything that I did.  If I had ‘fun’, I was accused of being lazy, not caring about the family, not respecting my parents.  If I spent any money or was the cause of money being spent, I felt guilty because I didn't deserve it and I owed a debt (with compound interest) that couldn't be repaid.

This type of guilt might be referred to as ‘false guilt.”  False guilt is very difficult to confront; where as true guilt can be confronted; amends made; actionable steps can be taken.  False guilt is a elusive and intangible but haunts and torments as a thief in the night taking what belongs to each one of use – our sense of completeness and wholeness.  It steals self-confidence and self-reliance; making us slaves to the opinions, and judgments of others.  We begin to make it our business what other think of us.  The false guilt is brought on by the many tapes and messages given in the past which begins to generate a feeling of being bad without ever doing anything wrong.

The differentiation between true and false guilt is a first step to emotional freedom.  False guilt is a lie!  Differentiation begins with determining responsibility.  Is it your fault? If it is, take action to change your behavior; gain insight into your motivation.  Some acts that were harmful were out of good intentions; keep the good intentions and learn more effective means to accomplish that good intention.  Change yourself or situation if it is true guilt. Making mistakes is human and forgiveness of self is critical.  Make amends when doing so is appropriate and doesn’t create more harm. Be open with your mistakes with those that you trust and seek feedback about the guilt – is it true or false guilt?

One of the greatest gifts I can present to those that I love is a guilt free spirit.  I become open for their love and their gifts which is the greater gift – being worthy of the abundance that is available to me.

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