How to Kick Guilt to the Curb With the “F” Word
“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I’m mad at myself and feel like I’ve broken a commitment (to myself).
Here it is Monday evening (Tuesday morning for some of you) as I write this and the post I intended to write over the weekend wasn’t finished. Wasn’t even started.
Here’s the excuses: My dad was in the emergency room 600 miles away with multiple broken bones from a fall, we were house- and dog-sitting and we had a good friend here for a long weekend. All true.
The bottom line is I am feeling guilt-y.
Here’s the odd thing: I’ve been having intense dreams for quite some time about the life I left to move to Texas three years ago. These dreams are often angry and violent and never fail to leave me shaken.
Sometimes, like the one I woke with on Saturday, stayed me with all day. It involved meanness and power and intentions to inflict both.
Consequently, I felt emotionally vulnerable. I wanted to stay quiet and process through the muck to try to determine what it might mean.
My friend visiting from California has an incredible wisdom stick and she’s not afraid to use it.
She said, “You probably feel hurt by that dream because you haven’t been forgiven.”
That’s it! I said. I want the person in my dreams to forgive me. I’ve made amends. I’ve tried to right the wrongs as best I can.
But my efforts fall on deaf ears because the person in my dreams wants no contact with me.
I hurt her badly. But what do I do with all this guilt that I’m just coming to see? I need closure, damn it!
The dreams we tell ourselves are true and guilt is wrapped in forgiveness
I’ve convinced myself that the person’s behavior in my dream is exactly as it would be in person. Huh. Wonder how I know that?
In this particular dream, I’m supposed to be taking a bunch of stuff from her that is mine. Take this, this and definitely that. But don’t touch that, that or this.
I’m so confused. What am I supposed to leave behind with her?
Could it be the guilt stemming from a lack of forgiveness–self forgiveness?
My sponsor would probably tell me that whether the person in my dreams forgives me is none of my business. Well crap. That just leaves one other person to do the forgiving.
My friend from California coincidentally (right!) sent me a link to a Gary Zukav article called “5 Things You Can Learn From Guilt.” I think she called in the big dogs since she wasn’t getting through to me.
- 1. Guilt comes from a frightened part of your personality.
- 2. Guilt impairs your ability to learn from your experiences.
- 3. Guilt keeps you from being honest with others and yourself.
- 4. The relationship between guilt and forgiveness may surprise you.
- 5. You cannot give the gifts that your soul wants you to give while you are feeling guilty