SPEAK: Release By the Spirit – Releasing Guilt

SPEAK! … By the Spirit™ with
Erica A. Hawthorne

Releasing Guilt…

© 2010 Erica A. Hawthorne

December 13, 2010

Guilt is a tricky emotion, and you may find that it’s especially difficult to shake while you sit in the midst of the very circumstances that triggered the feeling.  But releasing guilt is important if growth and healing are to take place.

It’s one thing to acknowledge a wrong or mistake you make; even better to offer sincere, thoughtful apology, but to continue to punish yourself with feelings of guilt takes away the opportunity to learn the lesson from the experience and commit to changing your actions.

Maybe you feel guilty for choosing to do something for yourself at a time when you feel others need your help and attention as well.  But to do this stifles the ability to know when it’s important to take time for self and ultimately discovering the healthy balance between self-care and still being able to care for others.

At the core of guilt are feelings of being undeserving.  Louise Hay writes in You Can Heal Your Life, that “guilt always looks for punishment…”  It looks for a way to make you wrong and keep you from seeking and accepting Love.  Our separation from Love and all of its grace and peace is one of the most critical wounds we must heal in our lives. Guilt is just one more way the struggle to do so is further complicated.

You may feel wounded over a mistake you’ve made, and feel you are unworthy of grace or forgiveness.  But each of us has made mistakes that we wish we could take back or reverse.  It may be more difficult if the person you feel you wronged doesn’t forgive you right away or no longer wants to be around you.  But forgiveness from another is only part of the full act of forgiveness.  We must also forgive ourselves.  The healing takes place when we accept responsibility for our actions, focus on the lesson we may gain from the circumstance and ultimately adjust our lives accordingly.

When it comes to taking a moment for self-care we must begin to embrace the value of taking time for self so that we can recharge and re-focus.  I know we are taught that giving is one of the most priceless spiritual gifts, but we must realize that giving to ourselves is just as critical.  If you fed the hungry, but did not also feed yourself, how long would you be able to provide the blessing of outreach?  In much of the same way, we must treat self-care as an important daily ritual, not just a special occasion for birthdays or after our “well” has run dry.  Taking care of the temple that is you, is in fact, an act of Love.

When releasing guilt, you must be willing to recognize the difference between condemnation and conviction (http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/condemnation_conviction.php).  Condemnation means to keep you crippled by feelings of guilt and thoughts of being undeserving, while conviction is a charge to action and catalyst for positive change and a return to Love.  To do this you must release the attachment to dwelling on the past while also embracing all things that foster care and Love; which include forgiveness of self and others in the midst of situations where you are tempted to assume guilt or feeling guilty.

In all things, be gentle and loving with yourself (and others). At the core of all suffering is the need, desire and opportunity to embrace Love.  Even if it takes time to process and adjust, know that healing and growth is on the other side of all challenging or seemingly painful circumstances.  There is nothing that we need carry so long that we remain separate from Love even for a moment.

A verse to SPEAK:
“…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”

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