“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” ~ Alan Watts
One of the biggest discoveries for me on my self-care journey was realizing the amount of gunk I had been carrying around for so long.
The more prominent burdens included guilt and fear.
At first, I questioned myself. But as I dug deeper, that awareness opened the doors to the next layers of healing.
All I had to do was be willing to accept my inner state rather than resist it.
Due to my childhood, I thought I needed to be perfect in order to gain external approval. If I didn’t have that approval, I felt immense shame and guilt, sure I had let others down.
I was really good at being a person everyone could depend on: the one who would “get things done.” I became the person I felt others would be proud of, and behaved like the “ideal person,” doing what was expected of this false person.
This perfectionism was my “ego mind” reacting to situations or people as a shield to protect me. These traits would have served me as a child, but as an adult, it was hindering my growth and evolution and leading to guilt, fear, and anxiety.
This was merely a mirage, created by the ego mind in which we attempt to live up to an image of ourselves. If we fail, we suffer, since there is a gap between the proposed self and the imagined self.
The accumulation of guilt, fear, and anxiety brings about low self-worth and self-judgement. The more we judge, the more we hurt.
For a long time, this seemed normal to me since there was no divergent reference point to tell me how I should really feel.
More often than not, guilt and fear plagues us—exerting a powerful influence on how we perceive ourselves and subsequently others. Conditioned by society to view success in a certain way, the human psyche is often plagued by self-doubt, triggered by the burden of past mistakes or in anticipation of uncertainties in the future.
As subtle as it may seem, guilt is a persistent emotion that many of us experience on a daily basis. When at work, we feel guilty about not devoting enough time for our children. And while at home with our children, we feel guilty about not having done enough at work.
It’s a vicious cycle.
We feel the “pressure” to always do or achieve something, especially to show that we are progressing. And when we aren’t, we feel guilty.
Following closely on the heels is fear – it accompanies guilt since there is an underlying fear connected with the feeling of guilt.
We expect more and more from ourselves, which trickles down to encompass our family life, the way we look, health, and wealth.
Feelings of guilt and fear will not stop us from doing things but definitely exhausts our energies and slows us down.
Going to the core to cleave out the source of the incident at the onset of this personality trait is the first step toward freedom. Identifying and acknowledging their presence and understanding of the root emotion and the resulting impact on our well-being can be the beginning of the most beautiful forms of release.
A lot of self-reflection and inner work goes into accepting and integrating our perceived shortcomings, without attaching any judgement to it.
Instead of continuing to replay the incident associated with guilt and fear, we need to believe that we are worthy of forgiving and making peace with the past. It is important that we be compassionate toward our self and understand that everyone experiences these emotions at times.
The more we look at the incident from repulsion, the more power we give to these emotions. These feelings from a past experience therefore get renewed in the present moment bringing in anguish and suffering in the now.
As a child, I did the best I could with the resources available to me at that time. If we could instead look at the incident with compassion and a forgiving heart, we’d release the burden of carrying these into the present moment, thereby bringing serenity and a new life to the present and future.
The mind having been fed those lies all through life needed to be reprogrammed to include a different belief. While it is important to release and forgive our self for our perceived shortcomings, it is equally vital that we replace the old belief with the new evolved reality of who we have become on this healing journey.
In addition, if we focus on being grateful for these emotions, we learn to own up to our responsibility of having had to live through the experience. We grow in humility as we realise the opportunity this presented for our own self-evolution.
Expression becomes the final door to the healing process. The more we own our space with confidence, the more we signal to the universe that we believe in our value and give our self the freedom to evolve, grow, and thrive. The more we share, the more we blossom.
Once we heal our inner child, we’d no longer be attracting people or situations that demand perfection from us. We become spontaneous, our relationships improve, we’re more open, we stop judging ourselves and others, and we start believing in self-care and setting healthy boundaries.
We start living.