If you’ve never had a reason to feel guilt in your life – well – jolly dee then. I’m great at guilt, and I sometimes have to give myself a shake to stop heading over the hill with it and just being a miserable sod forevermore. I carried all sorts of guilt and regret around with me for so many years that it coloured every aspect of my life some sort of shade of grey. Then – a couple of years ago – I got into karma yoga, and for a respectably long time I lived according to about ninety five percent of its teachings. Some things I don’t believe need to be given up to be a good person, so I never did give them up. Now I’m back to most of my old sinnin’ ways, but I managed to hang on to quite a lot of the good stuff.
One thing I’ve learnt is that guilt is a good thing – in moderation. Just the same as all the other emotions we are given to deal with, it serves a purpose. In this case the purpose of being aware that we have done something wrong, so it’s just as educational as all the others. It should never go on forever though. I don’t think that whoever’s in charge of things around here would get a kick out of anyone wallowing in sadness and despair for years and years because of something that has been done, and can’t be undone. Sometimes you have to forgive yourself just as you forgive others in order to move on with your life, and not compound whatever you’ve done wrong to warrant your guilt by wasting the rest of it.
Casting a really honest eyeball back on my own life was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Memories of painful things are sometimes best left buried according to quite a lot of people, and sometimes the memories of the mistakes and hurts inflicted by yourself are much more hurtful looking back than the memories of the hurts done to you. Blah, blah, get to the point Jo. The thing is, that once something is done or said, it generally can’t be undone or unsaid. Some people never take the blame for their own hurtful actions, blaming everything else including the kitchen sink instead, rather than accept that nasty guilty feeling. Some put it right out of their minds instantly, and never think about it again, but that causes problems. Whatever is in your memory never goes away. It just sinks to a deeper level – possibly causing invisible problems to your psyche in general, because no matter what you tell yourself to get through your days, at your core you know wrong from right. But maybe you never knew at the time.
That’s why I reckon that properly focusing on these things is good. We’re not the same person we were yesterday. Feel all the guilt or shame, or whatever it is that this memory brings on. Your guilt means that you’re sorry, and that if the same situation arose again, you wouldn’t do now what you did in the first place. Lesson learnt. Make amends to whoever/whatever you hurt as best you can. Then put it away or discard it. It’s all part of the human condition, and part of whatever this crazy lesson is all about. I have a sneaky suspicion that we’re actually supposed to be happy bunnies at the end of it all. So if you truly are sorry, and have done your best to fix or make up for that bad thing that you did or said, move right along with your life, because not being as happy as you can with the life you have ahead is probably going to be another thing to go in the guilty box – a final regret for when you’re finally ready to depart this mortal coil. You have permission to be happy and enjoy yourself. In the words of Stephen King, “Done bun, can’t be undone.” So.
Not sure what brought that on – it’s the rain I reckon. Guilt brought on by rain-rage. Still though, sometimes we do things throughout the course of our lives that are just plain bad, so the best we can do is own them without being destroyed by them, hard or not. It really pains me when I see a friend so overwrought by some instinctive or unthought-out act in their pasts that they literally waste years of their lives. Now – smile and give yourself a hug.