Updated: Aug 23
Guilt or resentment are an orientation of my mind that might damage love and create some suffering. It might seem as if it is caused by what has happened, however it is most likely caused by how I RELATE to what has happened.
Fortunately, since I, as a HUMAN, are capable of creating this feeling, I might also, with practice, LEARN to better release it or reduce it – or take a thought about it a little less seriously. This might be a way for me to begin to learn how.
When I have guilt, I am tending to reinforce a feeling of being ‘not okay.’ I tend to damage my confidence and self-respect. I likely feel undeserving and hold myself back.
A key to releasing guilt might be to better recognize that I go through my life doing as good a job as I can with the limited skill set and awareness that I have at the time.
The awareness and skill set that I have is sometimes not enough - as a result I might make a mistake - do something that is unhelpful.
Sometimes, even a big mistake - do something REALLY unhelpful.
Making a mistake seems to be part of the human process. This appears to be how a HUMAN truly learns. Each time I make a mistake I have an opportunity to learn a little more about my life, and what it is to be human. I have a chance to become a little wiser and a bit more aware.
Exactly the way the Wright brothers, who made the first aircraft, learnt to fly their plane.
Five years from now I am likely to be a bit wiser, a bit more emotionally mature, than I am today.
The wisdom, and emotional maturity, that I might have five years from now doesn't do me any good today.
This is true, because today, I don't have that wisdom, and emotional maturity.
Likewise the wisdom, and emotional maturity, that I might have today didn't do me any good back when I made my mistake – or unhelpful choice.
This is true, because back then, I didn't know what I know today. I only knew, what I knew, back then.
To see this in my life, I might go back in time to the moment I made my mistake.
I might notice that at the time, that I had a particular state of mind and a particular way of seeing life. I might have had less optimism, less sense of purpose, and less well-being than I have today.
I might notice that I acted fairly consistently, with where I was at that moment.
If I knew then what I know today, and I was more capable of doing so, I might have acted very differently – however, I didn't know and feel what I do today.
Even if I thought I knew better, I didn't know, or feel, a consequence like I do today.
Here is a big question: “How willing might I be to FORGIVE MYSELF for not knowing or being in a position to know - or not being as capable as I am now insisting I might have been?”
“How willing might I be to FORGIVE MYSELF for not being wiser and more emotionally aware?”
I might CHOOSE TO give myself that little break, and reach out to that person that I was with self-compassion.
When I look fairly at the situation and my response, I probably did as well as I could, working with where I was at the time.
Maybe I’ll forgive myself.
Forgive myself for not being wiser and more emotionally aware.
Forgive myself for acting consistent with my, at the time, limited mental, physical and emotional awareness. The suffering that I was enduring.
Forgive myself for the damage that was caused as a result of my not knowing; or being as able to act otherwise.
Thereby, 'allow' myself to be human, acknowledge and accept my common humanness.
When I have a resentment, a major part of me tends to close down.
I tend to become more bitter and less able to express my love.
I tend to lose a bit of my aliveness and a bit of my joy for life.
I tend to put up a wall of protection and I tend to make my life a bit more difficult.
Letting go of a resentment, rather than being of benefit to the other person, is something I might CHOOSE TO do for myself.
When I resent someone, I am likely saying very forcefully, that the other person is the problem, the cause and the fault – rather than me.
I forcefully blame the other person so that I am not looking as closely at myself.
When I look at myself a little, and consider where there might be an opportunity to grow as a person, I might choose to experience a little of the hurt from what happened.
It might help for me to notice that the person I resent, has a particular human state of mind - a particular human way of seeing their life.
I might notice that this person, has a limited human awareness and acts totally consistent with his or her limited human skill or human ability.
I might notice that IF this person were a little wiser and a little more aware, then they might be able to act a bit differently – however, the person isn't wiser and more aware.
This person only has the limited human wisdom and human awareness that they have.
I might notice that this person is probably doing as good a job as they can with their limited human awareness and ability.
I might notice how much this person likely suffers as a result of their limited skill set - how they miss an opportunity for connection.
I might now ask, “How willing might I be to forgive this person for not being wiser and more aware?”
“How willing might I be to forgive this person for acting consistent with their limited capacity?”
“How willing might I be to forgive this person for the damage that was caused?”
As I do this I might choose to remember that this forgiveness is a gift I give to myself, rather than the other person.
Forgiveness is a choice I might make.
I might consider forgiving a little, letting go of my resentment a bit, and getting on with my life a little more.
Note: If a person is REGULARLY or CONTINUALLY unhelpful, I may distance myself from them a bit, or a lot.
Moving a bit toward more helpful thinking.
BILL FERGUSON'S Online Guide For Effective Living http://www.billferguson.com