Wednesday, April 25, 2012
We live in a guilt –ridden society. Most of us feel some form of guilt everyday. We feel guilty about driving our cars, and polluting the air, having trash that can’t be recycled, not being able to afford braces, dance lessons, vacations,etc.. for our kids, not being able to care for our ageing parents,- you name it, we feel guilty about it.
I grew up in a very rigid household. My siblings and I were raised on guilt. We ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then we slept with it at night. Every transgression, mistake, or outburst, was continually resurrected with the intention of bringing up morally sound adults. We were suffocated by the guilt and shame piled on us for being – well- human. We spent our childhoods trying to meet some kind of unreachable parental perfection perceived by my mother. By the time I had moved away from home I was an anxiety ridden mess, guilty and ashamed, I continually apologized to people, simply for being there. And one day I did something unforgiveable-at least in my parents’ eyes, they basically disowned me. I moved away to escape my shame, I tried to bury it deep inside. I didn’t tell anyone in my “new life” what I had done. Fortunately for me, I had an awesome roommate (and now best friend) , she didn’t know me well , but she could tell that I had issues. One day she advised me to just get it out. So I put it all out there. Even though I was afraid that when I was done telling her what I had done, she would think I was an awful person, I told her anyway.
Guess what she said after she heard my story? “Well, that’s okay. Everybody makes mistakes, let it go and move on.” Whew, what a relief, telling someone my mistake seemed to lift all that baggage off of me. I let go of past, guilt, and fear. I learned to live with my humanity, and not continually beat myself up for mistakes. I learned to live in the moment.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have someone in their life that they can go to for guilt relief. So many people feel they are alone, especially in this struggle to change their lifestyle and lose weight. When I read blogs here on SP by people who have made a mistake, I don’t view them as excuses; I see them as a confession. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, and explain to people what you have done. And that is why I often respond with “That’s ok, you made a mistake, let it go and move on.” After all, we are all just human.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Wow this is huge. I am, like you privileged to have my sister as my best friend. We both lived through too much and helped each other on the road to mending. Parents can be hard/overdone etc its the toughest job under the sun and no exam needed to pass to reproduce. For everything else a certificate is needed....gun ownership, marriage, driving etc....to have kids...nothing just have them. I've often wished in some crazy way that we could put our hands under some ray and be told...yes you two can marry and yes you two can reproduce....lol but it doesn't happen that way. I hope my kids have kinder stories to tell their kids about their raising than I had to tell mine.
1724 days ago
Love, love, love this blog!
1726 days ago
Thanks for the reminder...
Welcome to the human race! Nice to meet you!
Let's move onward and upward!
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1756 days ago
what a great blog. I too grew up in the same environment. I like how you opened up to your friend and learned to just let go and live in the moment!! So important for happiness in life. My cell phone greeting is "N THE MOMENT" for the very same reasons as your blog statements. Powerful blog!!
1783 days ago
Thanks for sharing and the reminder that we all need to let go of the negative and support the positive -- in ourselves and in others.
1799 days ago
Loved your blog. I too am learning to let go of the guilt. I had it so bad I would feel the guilt for what others had done and make it my own. Getting better about that. Now if I can just lose the reflex action of apologizing all the time.
1803 days ago
2062 days ago
Thank you for reminding me that we are all human, and we need to forgive ourselves, just as much as we forgive others
2065 days ago
Loved your blog! All very relatable because we all have "issues" from our past to get through and it was eye opening how we can all use that to push us to continue our sp journey. You sound like a wonderful and insightful person, you have done a great job of healing yourself and finding who you are. You should be so proud of yourself and what you have accomplished in becoming a healthy adult. I'm sorry you had to go through all that you went through but you have come so far to heal and you deserve all the happiness you can get! Stay strong and remember to never feel guilty about who your, our mistakes make us, not break us.
2067 days ago
Great blog. My mother and grandmother used guilt all the time. Not necessarily on purpose per se but it was used nonetheless.
I have what a lot of people call "Catholic" guilt. I was born and raised in the Catholic church. Now that all my grandparents and parents are gone I feel that I have the freedom to explore new things. I still have my 'faith' yet I have to find my own way now rather than depend on others' ways.
2110 days ago
This was a GREAT blog friend! Thanks for reminding me that I am "human" and not "superhuman". I can and will make mistakes... It took a while for me to realize that it was okay too, and getting rid of baggage is most important...I hope for everyong that they can let go of their baggage, and not feel guilty.
2111 days ago
Mennoly, I am one of hundreds- if not millions raised in this manner( trust me, I know a whole church full of us). I honestly believe my mom had the best intentions- she just let her extreme religious views, and events in her past control how she raised her children. Truthfully, my dad could have stepped in, but it seems he believed my mom knew better how to raise children then he did.
My unforgivable sin was a divorce- which my siblings have each had since then as well, and ironically my parents have divorced too. They are much happier people now. I do wonder if my mother used her religion in a quest to try and save her marriage. She has softened a great deal, and has been a good and kind Grandmother to my kids, as well as her other grandchildren.
Part of letting go and moving on for me has been just to except what happened and learning to forgive myself, as well as understanding that my parents were doing the best that they could. Guilt is a useful emotion, but so many people continually beat themselves up, and hold themselves back because of it. We need to learn to acknowledge our mistakes, promise ourselves we'll try to do better, and move on.
2151 days ago
Comment edited on: 4/26/2012 11:54:48 AM
This was a very well written blog. I am happy that you were able to get past your childhood and that you are a much more generous person than your mother. It takes a lot of humanity to not be judgemental. I am sorry you had such a painful upbringing.
2152 days ago
Guilt is such a misused emotion. We try to enforce it upon people externally. Guilty or not guilty, how do you plead?
Proper guilt should be from within, a recognition that we have violated some moral that we believe in, done what we know is wrong and harmful. Guilt shouldn't drown us in feelings of failure and incompetence. It should drive us to want to correct the violation, to take responsibility and move forward.
It is natural. A complete lack of feeling guilt is a common sign of a sociopath - someone who cannot see right vs wrong. But it is not natural to have others deciding that our worth is based on their interpretation of our guilt.
2152 days ago
Great Blog! Well said and I agree 1000%!! Thank heavens you grew past the guilt!
2152 days ago
What a great blog! I grew up Catholic and that was what our religion was based on - GUILT!!! It wasn't presented as much that God loved us, but rather that we should feel guilty for everything we did against his commandments. I, too, was consumed with guilt about the dumbest things I did, and it mad me more rebellious. If God didn't like me wearing my skirt too short at Catholic school...well what will He think if I smoke a cigarette or kiss a boy....oooooooh!
Isn't it silly what we do to ourselves, but blame it on other people or events. As I read some of the blogs of other members of this program I feel so sorry for them. The younger peope with eating disorders especially bother me. I just want to reach out and give them a hug. This has been a very enlightening experience for me, and althouh I'm not pushing to run marathons, I have lost some weight while meeting so many interesting people and learning so much about living a healthier life. Thanks for adding to my wealth of knowledge!
2152 days ago
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