I don't deserve to be happy! I'll never
find anyone who loves me. I wouldn't dare expect to
succeed because I don't want to be disappointed. If
I expect the worst, I'll be okay when it gets here.
Sound familiar? People who have dealt with substance
issues and most folks who are survivors of any kind
of abuse including neglect, often feel guilt and shame.
This internalized guilt and shame is exactly what creates
this self-dialog and , more importantly, ultimately
keeps us from creating the lives we want and deserve.
It's important to know that both guilt and shame are
feelings that are projected on to you by another person.
They are not emotions or feelings that have originated
from within you in response to anything you may have
done. When you do things that cause pain, you may feel
remorse, sadness or grief, but not guilt or shame.
Guilt and shame are both responses that others have
about us which then get projected on to us. Unconsciously
accept them as our own.
People in our lives project guilt or shame for lots of different reasons, most
of which are fear based. Perhaps your spouse, who caught you flirting, feels
you haven't suffered enough and therefore have not yet truly changed. Perhaps,
a friend still harbors anger and wants you to hurt as much as they feel you hurt
them. Maybe someone in your meeting feels you didn't go through the same trials
and tribulations they did for similar kinds of behavior. Whatever the reason,
be clear that feelings of shame and guilt are not yours. Whenever anyone projects
those thoughts and words on to you, they are consciously or unconsciously doing
so to disempower you.
Those of you who are still die hard non-believers about the impact of our words,
thoughts and feelings, please do yourself a favor and visit this Internet site:
After seeing for yourself
how thoughts and words change the molecular structure of water, perhaps you'll
get the point.
Once you discover the guilt and shame don't belong to you, then energetically
give these projections back to the person doing all the projecting. Set a boundary.
Confront the issue with that person. "I get the impression that you don't
feel my response to what has happened is appropriate or sincere. What is that
about for you? Are you afraid? Are you angry?"
If you can't get out of feeling shame or blaming yourself, ask yourself if your
motivation or purpose in facing your past behaviors is about self-punishment
or healing. If it's about self-punishment then you need to know you can choose
to spend a great deal of time beating yourself up and when you're finished you
will be in exactly the same place from which you began - only you will be more
depleted physically, emotionally and spiritually. Self-judgment is the primary
emotion that cuts off feelings of spiritual connectedness and it does so instantly.
You can't feel yourself, others, God, The Divine or Universal Energy, however
you choose to perceive it, when you are into self-judgment. Instead you feel
isolated, hopeless and alone. Some people need to beat themselves up as part
of their process. If you choose to do it, set a limit. "I'll beat myself
up for the next two weeks and then I'll move on." No, I am not kidding.
Having a reasonable limit may be liberating and is certainly more just. Beating
yourself up consciously is better than doing it unconsciously because you can
set a fair limit to the behavior.
On the other hand, if your personal examination is about healing, then your first
step is to be willing to feel the grief, sadness or remorse about your actions
and let it go. That process naturally creates resolve. Use the breath, or tears,
journaling, therapy or any other means to release the feelings as you breathe
them out. Most of us have a tendency to stop breathing when intense feeling surfaces.
Third step is to get clear on exactly what it is that you are responsible for.
No, you are not responsible for the fact that for x-number of years your partner
was miserable. Even in the worst of relationships where one person is acting
out in extremely destructive ways, the other person votes to stay in that destructive
relationship. Why your partner, friend or family member stayed, or why they did
not leave, is a question for them to work on in their personal process or in
their therapy. It's not your issue.
We are individually responsible for the quality of our own lives and the decisions
we make to enhance or diminish that quality. I can already hear all the "Yes
Buts" in the letters I'll get on this issue. "Yes, but I'm the one
who threw up all over the car!" Who chose to go pick you up? "Yes,
but I said terrible things." Who chose to stay and listen? In any situation
where two people are relating, even in destructive ways, it's always a fifty-fifty
proposition. You get to have your part of the responsibility, but not all of
Letting others have their part of the responsibility doesn't get you off the
hook. You still have to do the 10th step of making amends, but what does that
mean exactly? Does making amends mean that you should keep beating yourself up
in your process of apologizing? No! It means you own your behavior, you remain
present and willing to listen to the pain it caused, and you sincerely apologize
for your part in creating that pain. You can also, if it feels appropriate, talk
about the steps you are taking to heal and what you hope for, if anything, in
the form of a relationship with this person in the future. You can't change anything
that happened in the past. That's how the universe works. If we get the lessons
life offers us and go on, the past gets healed. If we don't, we repeat the patterns
and the pain and continue to do so until we finally get the lesson.
Let's use an example of a child who runs into the street repeatedly after being
told not to do so. The first couple of times mom scolds the child. Then, if the
child still wont listen mom spanks the child. One day as the child begins to
run into the street; suddenly the child sees a truck run over his or her toy
wagon. The child, as she is standing in the street, finally understands why mom
has been saying, "Don't run into the street." Would Mom still have
to spank that child? No, once the lesson. has been learned there is no benefit
to punishment. That is also true for you. Once the life lesson has been learned
there is no need to continue punishing your self.
If you find yourself obsessing about the things you did in the past, you are
probably doing so to unconsciously avoid feeling the real feelings underneath
all that obsessing. Obsessive behavior is a defense mechanism we use to avoid
feeling the underlying fear, anger or pain about an issue.
To get your power back and come fully into the healing process, use these four
steps. (1) Stop judging yourself or others. Allow yourself to be a human being
who is courageous enough to be dealing with life's most difficult lessons. (2)
Stop Blaming, yourself or others. Understand that everything, even that which
is painful, is spiritually correct and part of our learning process. (3) Don't
go future pacing! Stop worrying about how your apologies will be received or
how people will accept you or not accept you. You can't control either. (4) Stop
past pacing! Don't hold on to anything beyond healing it. . The only place you
can make a difference is right here, right now. What you do today will take care