A common theme I have noticed lately is the amount of guilt we suffer with as humans. Many friends and clients I interact with have shared stories with me about their guilt and how they’ve allowed it to control decisions they make or skew their perspective. These conversations have lead me to realize how much we allow guilt to paralyze us. We constantly suffer from guilt, let it eat us alive, and alter our decision-making. We feel guilty for things we don’t do, things we do, things we do or don’t say, not doing enough or doing too much. And if we let it, guilt is a never ending cycle of torture. And it causes us to fear life rather than enjoy every twist and turn it has to offer.
The way out of guilt is to look inward. We cannot allow guilt to run our lives. When we do, we are not living our own truths, and we are veering off path from the things we want to experience. Life isn’t about fearing and second-guessing every decision we make. Life is about navigating fear, not letting it win us over. Life would be so much easier if we feared less, and only you can remove the fear.
Unfortunately, it is so normal for us to abide by the rules set by other people and institutions. We try to avoid feeling guilty or avoid being out of compliance with what ‘rules’ have been set for us. But we have to push aside what people and institutions have said to us; all the rules, the do’s and don’ts. I am not saying having morals and values are not important, but we do not need to feel guilt for making mistakes or just doing something different. Morals and values can change with our growth as an individual, but we fear going against the norm. There is so much fear instilled in us through people and institutions that we forget to ask ourselves the most important questions; What do we want for ourselves? What is it that we want to experience?
We live in such fear of doing ‘wrong’…We forget that we are in the driver’s seat. Ask yourself who ultimately gets to decide what is ‘wrong’ for your life…Why aren’t we deciding for ourselves what is right or wrong?
We put way too much emphasis on other people’s and institution’s feelings and expectations of us. But the contradicting part is that it is our life to live. You are a good person, you are loved, and you are human. People put so much emphasis on guilt or fear around a ‘judging God’ (and by God I mean any higher power, institution, spirit, etc. you believe in). God LOVES you, period. You will not be judged for going this way or that way in your life. There is no judgement from God…just love. This is the hang up many people have; displeasing a ‘judging God’.
We cannot allow fate to happen when we live in fear, yet we try to allow fate and fear both to be the most impactful and dominate factors in our lives….This idea is impossible. Fate cannot express itself if the motivating or controlling force behind our actions/decisions is fear. We are distracted from experiencing our fate because of the guilt we hoard. We need to be easy on ourselves and let go a little bit. There is nothing to fear.
When we remove the guilt and focus more on our wants and our own decisions or rights/wrongs, we feel better. We become more certain about what we want. If we can remove the guilt, our minds and bodies will tell us over time what direction is right. Of course it’s human of us to want to consider how our decisions affect others, but don’t forget to keep yourself in that equation as well. The love for yourself should be of the upmost importance to you.
There are many situations in my life where one would assume I’d need to feel guilt, but I don’t let that consume me. I am my own person who is making my own decisions based on what I want at that time. No one can tell me what is right or wrong for me, only I know what feels right and what needs to happen for me to move forward. I don’t owe anyone an explanation.
It’s okay to color outside the lines now and then. Your feelings, opinions, and actions are legitimate because you say they are. You meander through life as your own unique self. You are not purposefully trying to harm institutions you believe in or hurt other people you love. And the God you believe in knows that. You’re just doing your best and living life on your terms. We are all just trying to figure it out. And how beautiful is that?…Isn’t that what life is about?
Once you decide to live on your own terms, notice who rises to the surface to be beside you. Who accepts you for who you are, and who knows your value and your heart. Those are the people who truly understand you. Quit apologizing for actions you take or saying sorry for being who you are, just be aware of it as this helps you understand what you want in your life.
We are always changing, learning, growing. We do not need to tell people every single time we change or justify our behavior, because we are just changing continuously. We do not need to straighten it out, fix things, apologize…It is okay to just be changing, as we all do. Change helps us grow, and growth brings us happiness.
Guilt is a sure way to unhappiness and stress, and guilt is a constant state of paranoia around ‘doing what you’re supposed to’ (whatever that means). The rest of your life is a really long time to not be sure if you’re happy. It is important to ask yourself if suffering with guilt and living in fear is worth compromising your own truth, well-being, and experiences that you’d want for yourself. It’s important to know that whatever choices you make, they are a part of you. They are teaching you, and that does not make you a bad person. Don’t forget that YOU get to decide. You are a good person, and there is only LOVE.
No amount of guilt can change the past. No amount of anxiety can shape the future.