At times, guilt is described as the inability to forgive oneself for a perceived wrongdoing. The wrongdoing may or may not have had negative consequences for others. If others were involved, they may or may not still be hurt. A wrongdoing may be an action, a thought, or even what we said to someone. If the wrongdoing was an action, you probably think of it as a mistake. You feel guilty for the wrongdoing because you cannot forgive yourself for it.
If you speak to your therapist, they try to convince you that the root-cause of a perceived guilt could be lack of self-esteem, perfectionist tendencies, tendency to be depressed, frequent anxiety, or a possible need to be in control. For me the root-cause is certainly none of the above! I’m convinced that the guilt I’m feeling, is neither perceived nor justified. The wrongdoing is related to the things I said to someone. Silly things I wish I had never said. Thoughtless points that caused anguish to a hopeful person. Now I’m just hoping the hurt is either cured or no longer there.
Sometimes we try to the mend the fences by going back and trying to explain, convince, or express regret – but the opportunity might no longer be there. The person we hurt might have been changed and we should expect to face indifference and negligence. The damage is done. The only available option is to acknowledge, take responsibility, and move on.
Sometimes in life, it’s important to pause every now and then and look back – even if every step of the path might feel right. I look back and do see that I would have done a few things differently, if I could. When I want to look forward, I want to see a line that’s going somewhere – not a bunch of random dots that might, sadly, illustrate an elusive line. So, scary as it is, I’m stepping off this path and choosing a new one, even if the destination of the new path is much less clear than the old one and there are no guarantees that I’ll be happier with where it leads.
This is about acknowledging and responding to another part of me. The part I never thought existed.