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9.25.2011

letting go of guilt.


The worst thing you can do for your future is hold onto the terrible things from your past. It will do nothing but weigh you down. Of course, this is not to say it isn't your past that shapes you into the person you are today. The experiences you had, emotions you faced, and lessons you learned are what make make you into the more well-rounded person you are at this very moment. It often takes growing older and looking back to realize just how much of an impact your actions and words may have had on those around you. The same goes for coming to terms with how other people may have shaped you; whether it was damaging and detrimental, or powerful and inspirational. Regardless, if you consider that hindsight is always 20/20, there comes a point where you need to accept that we all have terrible moments. It's important, above all else, to realize that holding onto guilt by not seeking closure is absolutely going to continue to affect your present in adverse ways. Let us consider the guilt we experience through our actions or words to others- did you play a joke on someone that went terribly wrong? Did you spill a secret you swore you wouldn't tell? Did you break someone's heart? Did you cause a coworker to get fired? Did you insist someone help you cheat on a test? Did you let someone get behind the wheel that shouldn't have? Did you come between a couple? Did you not support a friend in need? The point is, the possibilities for guilt are endless and the potential for making a mistake is a fact of life. Whether we did something awful on purpose or by mistake, he guilt we may feel down the road can eat us alive. The best advice is to consider that we cannot change what happened and that we can only focus on our recovery. Nothing we can do at this very moment can change our past, but we can make amends, come to terms with it, seek forgiveness, and become a better person because of it. The g-monster will sit in the pit of your stomach for as long as you allow it to. This is why there are several things you can do to work towards forgiving yourself; the first is communicating with the person you may have hurt. It's often difficult initially to do this, especially if you have damaged them in a way that makes them never want to see or hear from you as long as they shall live. This sometimes means having to work though it on the other person's terms; whether that means waiting a week, a month, or several years before they have had their own time to cope with the situation. Some people will never let you in their lives again; a harsh reality, but something that we all need to prepare for. If that is the case, we shouldn't be forced to go through life without seeking closure in another way. This may mean writing a letter to them, expecting no response, but allowing that to be your final word. This may also mean talking to a therapist and getting yourself on the road to recovery. Above all else, we must learn to forgive ourselves. If we go so far as experiencing intense guilt, then that is a sign that we are aware we made a mistake and need to seek forgiveness from within. We are all human; we will inevitably all act or say things that will be extremely detrimental to those we care about, whether we mean to or not. Once the damage is done seek forgiveness and refuse to make the same mistake again; recover strong.


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