Y2 – Day 258 – Guilt and Shame

The only time you should ever feel any guilt is if you have knowingly gone against your values.

Shame is about keeping secrets.

It is important to distinguish about what is my fault and what is another’s.  It is essential to understand, analyze or dissect what I am responsible for and what I am not accountable for.  From this vantage point I can now observe my behavior.  If my response or reaction is inappropriate, it is my mistake and I need to repair any damage.  If my conduct was in keeping with my principles and I was polite and cordial, then I should not take it on as my business.  How you respond or react is not under my jurisdiction.  Owning my part in anything will keep me honest with myself and continuously growing because no one is perfect.  

Acceptance of what is mine and what is yours to work out is my answer.  

When you take on the feeling of guilt, most times what you are really doing is feeling indebted or fearful.  We cower.  We blame ourselves but complain about others.  We get into a cycle of self-pity and beat ourselves up, incessantly feeling unworthy.  This never-ending story we tell ourselves keeps us blocked and causes uncomfortable and awkward misperceptions in relationships.

It takes courage to be emotionally honest with self and then others.  It takes time to unravel the web of deceit and haze we have been weaving for who knows how long and how wrong.  It takes inward reflection to dismantle the self-centered identity of victim or self-appointed label of martyr.  But when you realize you cannot feel guilt for what someone else is thinking, doing or feeling, then you will refuse to self-condemn and have no reason to be self-reproaching.  This frees you up for other activities and good thoughts.

Shame is about embarrassment, denial and disbelief.  You are only as ashamed as your skeletons in the closet, your dirty laundry being aired or lies exposed.  When you are an open book and remain as truthful as possible, admitting to your flaws and problems, there is no room for shame (unless of course, you have done nothing to improve).  Shame is a horrible stigma to give or carry.  Shame is about being disappointed about an outcome or someone else’s behavior that does not meet our expectations.  Shame protects us from coping with the truth we clearly need to deal with.

Acceptance of another’s misgivings and need to heal while focusing on my own improvement is the answer.

Sometimes we are mortified by a situation and feel dumb that we couldn’t have saved or stopped something from occurring.  We feel we are so omnipotent that we could have fixed it somehow.

In other situations, usually family related, we feel disloyal if we tell on someone’s behavior that is detrimental to our own health and wellbeing.  We feel if we disclose personal information, we are in some way vulnerable or culpable.  But we will never heal if we suppress.  It is healthier to allow the repressed or disgraceful emotions to be freed in a productive, constructive and loving way, sincerely beginning to declutter dark confusion and ending a senseless mind game.

And of course, we need to be present about divulging our tender thoughts to just anyone.  We use discretion, discrimination and discernment and we share with persons we trust.  We make amends to those we have humiliated or belittled or disgraced.  We disclose perhaps in private, not public ways, how or what we have done or seen.  But to keep ourselves concealed, is to hide our beauty to the world.

Without our transformation, dedication to change and brave efforts to dislodge any roadblocks to our clarity, we can never be the positive force we want to be in the world nor be of any assistance or any kind of example to another human being.

“The act of giving something up is painful.  
But as we negotiate the curves and corners of our lives,
we must continually give up parts of ourselves.
 The only alternative is not to travel at all on the journey of life.”

 – M. Scott Peck


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