Questions submitted via Formspring:
“I have deep seated guilt issues which have made my self esteem lead me down paths of bad relationships and walking away from the only decent relationship of my life. How do I rid the guilt to start again on this decent relationship?”
In all my Coaching work, I have found guilt to be the number one problem people are dealing with. Sometimes people are aware of it, and sometimes they are simply unconsciously manifesting problems in their lives to punish themselves for things they feel subconsciously guilty about.
I talked about this in a recent episode of Rise UP with B. Dave Walters, as well as did a whole video dedicated to it; in the video below you’ll find:
Where guilt comes from, and how to deal with it;
How to know whether you should feel guilty at all, and
How to release it once and for all.
So what I’d like to talk about here, is getting to the real root of what it is you are feeling so guilty about.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is: what’s so. What is ACTUALLY happening? Remember that everything lives in language; it is very easy to get hung up in thinking things like “I broke his heart,” or “I betrayed my friend,” or “I’m a terrible person for_____.”
The reality is usually much simpler: we dated, and it didn’t work out; or even “we were in committed relationship, and I slept with someone else.”
Many times we are upset about things we had absolutely no control over; things like the death of loved ones, or the non-specific feeling that “I should have done something.” Everything we’ve talked about relating to how to forgive someone else, also applies to forgiving *yourself*. Since whatever you did or did not do, is DONE.
It’s in the past!
And, unless you have a time machine (and if you do, I want a ride!), there is nothing you can do to go back and change it. All you can do is attempt to make it right here and now. And, you can’t really start the process of seeking forgiveness from someone else, until you forgive yourself first.
The fact is, you aren’t even really looking for forgiveness from outside, since even if someone is no longer upset with you, you won’t be able to let go of your guilt until you’ve forgiven yourself in the first place. So please don’t underestimate how important this really is.
If you are feeling guilty for a very specific thing that you did or didn’t do, you can use this to get rid of those painful memories.
Once you are clear on what’s so…what REALLY happened, and you have forgiven yourself for what you did or didn’t do, then you can reach out to another person to make amends. Personally, I think writing an email or even a paper letter is the best way to do this for a couple of different reasons. One, you can always be sure you said exactly what you meant; and two, it doesn’t put the person on the spot to accept or reject what you have to say.
Pending what happened, they may not be able to accept your apology. They may have had months, years, or a lifetime to build up resentment towards you; so don’t necessarily expect things to be fixed over night.
Once the line of communication is open, you can start the process of rebuilding that relationship. You may never be best friends again, but ideally you want to try to get back to a point of not feeling resentment. However, like we said above: they may not want that, and quite frankly that’s ok.
You aren’t responsible for anyone else’s healing; you are responsible for YOUR healing.
And one final thing:
“To fall seven times is to rise eight times: life begins today”
All of our decisions, good and bad, help us grow and turn us into who we are. Hopefully you can fix whatever happened, but as long as you learn something from it and do better next time, how can you really all it a mistake?
And, if you need to hear it: I forgive you.
What do you think ? Feel free to comment down below!
You are great, and I love you!
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B. Dave Walters
Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host
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