“We are our choices.”  – Jean-Paul Sartre

One night my 9-year-old son who had just gone to bed, asked me if I would lay with him as he was scared. I was getting ready for a busy day and was tired and said “No, you are fine, go to sleep.”  When he died the following afternoon after being hit by a car, I remembered what he asked me, and the guilt that followed me from that day on, was overwhelming.

“Guilt is a destructive and ultimately pointless emotion” ― Lynn Crilly

Guilt is an emotion that we are all familiar with, that we have all lived with at some time. What we forget is that we do not need to carry this burden around in our life and that guilt as powerful and destroying as it is, serves no purpose.

Guilt beats us up, it makes us replay our mistakes, it wastes enormous amounts of energy re-enacting how we could have done something differently. It makes us feel bad if we don’t feel bad!

“No longer be the victim of your circumstances, let go, forgive and move on.”

One of the reasons it is so hard to give up and let go of our guilt is because we feel we need to be punished and believe we deserve to feel this way.  Once we realise we do not need to carry this, we can learn to forgive ourselves and lift the heaviness from our life.  Once you let go of it, you will find the confidence to move forward.

Here is one way you can work through letting go of your guilt no matter how hard it seems.

Find a quiet still place and take some deep breaths. Make sure you feel calm and still.
 Call in the person or people you feel you have let down or have carried guilt for.
See them in front of you.   Ask them for forgiveness.
See them forgiving you.
Now say “I forgive myself and let go of any guilt I am holding, I no longer need to punish or burden myself with this guilt.”
See this guilt lifting from your body and mind.
Take some deep breaths and finish.

You may need to do this a couple of times in your meditation to feel completely free. Don’t allow guilt to have any power in your life and don’t let it stop you from experiencing the fullness of life and the precious time we have with each other.

4 thoughts on “Guilt

    1. Thanks Melissa, it was hard to let go of my guilt but in doing so, I felt free and able to be fully present in my daily life.

  1. My little boy died when he was 2 years, 7 months and 1 day old. I put him down for a nap and he said “I not tired”. The last thing I ever said to him was “If you don’t take a nap, I’m not taking you to the park”. He was dead 20 minutes later. He had strangled to death on a window blind cord. I had the cord tied at the top of the window but my 4 year old had used a doll house to climb onto the sill to pull the cord down so they could pretend it was a zip line like “Go, Diego, Go”. I didn’t even look at the window when I put him down for his nap. Forgiving myself has been an ongoing process. It took about 2 years before I even made any headway at all. And only in the last two years that I’ve realized that it’s something we must do over and over again to keep the guilt from creeping up on us. I will always regret not saying “I love you” before I walked out the door. Always. I hope he heard me tell him I loved him in the hospital. I’m sure he did.

    1. Thankyou Kathleen for sharing your heartfelt story about your beautiful son. Im so sorry for your loss and for all the words you never got to say. It does take time to forgive ourselves and I admire your courage to begin the journey of letting go. Your strength will give hope to many.

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