When painful situations arise in our life very often there is a load of guilt that goes along with it. We seek to find answers as to why we’re hurting and all too often that results in a pointed finger back at ourselves--even if it was the other party who wanted to part ways.
When it comes to a failed relationship...
You may feel guilty because the relationship broke up. But you have to really evaluate the reason for the dissolution. Was it because you wouldn’t change who you are? (See article on “Overcoming Self-Doubt”.) Was it because you did something that hurt them and it resulted in their separation from you?
Only you and that other person know the truth, but if you are feeling guilt for choosing yourself, your beliefs, your visions, your goals in life, it’s time to release this emotion. It is eating you from the inside out and paralyzing.
When it comes to losing a loved one in death...
There is nothing more painful than losing a loved one. It leaves behind a void so vast that it’s hard to comprehend how you are ever going to return to normal. Remember, it will take time to work through all of your feelings. (Refer to article “Honor Yourself”.)
One of these emotions will likely include guilt, either over something you said, or didn’t say, something you did, or didn’t do. But what wasted energy to worry about something that you cannot go back and change. Accept yourself for being human and know that person knew you loved them (our loved ones always have a way of knowing).
When it comes to a personal assault...
I’ve heard it said that victims of assault reason that it was their fault that it happened. They shouldn’t have been where they were, when they were there. The “if onlys” become plentiful. But, remember, you are not to blame for what happened to you. The person who violated you in whatever manner--they are responsible. They are the ones who should feel shame and guilt--not you.
In all of these cases, think of it this way: there’s no way a bird could fly tethered to the ground. Likewise if we allow ourselves to be limited with the chains of guilt, we can never fully shine and become the people we are meant to become.
How can you break free of the chains of guilt?
- Write in a journal. Include what you feel guilty about, rip it apart and really analyze where it stems from. From there, you’ll know exactly what you need to target and work on. You might realize you really have nothing to feel guilty over!
- Remember you are only human. Don’t expect perfection of yourself. If making mistakes meant the end of the world, the earth would have stopped spinning a lot time ago.
- Forgive yourself. This is a really tough one, but as you work through your self-healing journey, you will find that this eventually comes.
- Trust in yourself enough to know that you did the right thing for you.
- Realize you have the right to be happy.