You said something you wish you could take back; you think you should have been more understanding or more supportive; you tell yourself that you should know better by now, etc. We’ve all spent hours of our time replaying past scenarios in our heads and blaming ourselves for acting the way we did.
While it might seem hard to break this cycle, it’s important that you begin to recognize guilt for what it is, so you can ultimately free yourself from it. No matter how much you wish things were different, the reality is that they aren’t, and it’s precisely the mental resistance what is keeping you from moving forward. It’s time to stop the guilt pattern and start the process of forgiveness.
First of all, recognize guilt for what it is. It is an indicator that your awareness has expanded in such a way that you are NOW able to see a new solution to a past problem, which shows how much your perspective has changed and/or indicates your growth as a person from then until now.
Once you’ve come to this realization, there is not further use for guilt.
By this I don’t mean that the feeling is going to disappear all of a sudden.
However, blaming yourself for not taking this now-available solution to a past situation is not really fair. You were doing the best you could then, with the information and consciousness you had at the moment. It is also likely that you were in a situation that was highly emotional and therefore allowed the emotions to take over, preventing you from thinking clearly and making a “better” decision. This is all understandable. In any case, you did the best you could then and things couldn’t have been any different given the circumstances.
Yes, it’s important that you take responsibility for your actions, but it’s not necessary or useful for you to keep blaming yourself any further.
What you are experiencing isn’t your fault or someone else’s fault. It is the result of patterns of thinking that you’ve learned since childhood and that you’ve practiced until now, probably without realizing it. Are you feeling guilty? Great! Take advantage of this emotional state and use it to question your mental patterns in real time, as you are being affected by them NOW.
This is the beginning of your freedom. This guilt you feel now is providing an opportunity for you to go deep within yourself and really question the beliefs that have been holding you back all this time, because let’s face it, this isn’t the first time that this is coming up in your life.
Also, you probably know by now that resisting the feelings doesn’t make them go away any faster, so try something new. Sit with the emotion without trying to change it. Try to notice the physical sensations you feel and to find exactly where they are located in your body. Bring your complete attention to these sensations. Embrace the feeling rather than fight it and you will notice that the guilt will start to transform on its own.
My last piece of advice is for you to imagine that there’s a little child who made a so-called mistake. What would you do? You probably wouldn’t scream at the child and blame him or her for making a mistake. You would be loving and kind and show him or her a better way to do things. Well, YOU are this child that needs to be treated with love and understanding. So be kind. It is the best gift you can give to yourself.