This post was inspired by a couple things, but what brought the topic of guilt to the forefront of my mind was a Yoga class I attended this morning at Solefire in Sacramento.
Near the end of the class the instructor was speaking about the feeling of guilt, how it comes about, and strategies to change the way we handle ourselves when we feel guilty. If you're familiar with the Serenity Prayer or you've attended a meeting for addiction, eating disorders etc than you've probably heard of the concepts of serenity, courage, and wisdom. In my mind I connect the resolution of guilt with the Serenity Prayer.
The Serenity Prayer evokes a sense of peace and calmness with things "just as they are," but it also requires understanding the difference between serenity and surrender. Serenity is about accepting the condition or situation and learning to work with it. On the otherhand surrender is like waving the white flag or giving in to the condition or disease. For example, I've struggled with eating disorders since I was 11, but I've accepted that there's a part of my brain that will always think and feel certain way. Through education, time and awareness I've learned to live with my eating disorders and use my knowledge and energy in a positive way. Unfortunately, living out the Serenity Prayer is not as easy as it might seem because acceptance is hard and accepting that there are somethings we can not change is even harder.
Living out the Serenity Prayer as a way of life requires letting go of guilt, accepting what has happened and learning to live with the outcomes. I believe that holding on to guilt is a fatal flaw in recovery from any addiction, disease, or traumatic life event. When we hold on to guilt it's like carrying a heavy weight on our shoulders, it causes us to dwell on the past and set parameters for the life we think we deserve rather than living the life of our dreams.
Letting go of guilt and moving forward starts by saying sorry for wrong doings to friends, family members, coworkers, or even ourselves. After apologies have been made all we can do is wipe the slate clean and start our life fresh to best of our abilities. Holding on to guilt can lead to self destructive or self sabotaging behaviors when it comes to weight loss and wellness endeavors.
I've taking the long route in making my point here, but what I'm getting at is that everything we think, feel or do impacts our quality life and well we live. If you're holding onto guilt, shame or embarrassment take the time to learn to let to go and allow yourself to forgive and start fresh. No matter how serious or minor you feel your guilt is, it is worth every minute of your time to resolve it.