In the pursuit of creating the life you want, how often do you find yourself thinking about what might already be different if you had only made that other choice, responded with a different remark, or understood a situation with the insight you have now? We all have that moment in our minds when we relive something that took place, perhaps coming up with numerous other ways we could have responded or acted.
Taking time to reflect can help us reveal personal aspects to ourselves as well as improve the way we handle other situations in the future. Experiences exist to teach us, which is why very few of us get anything just right the first time around. It is common to reflect when you embark on creating changes, however, the slippery slope to watch out for while making that climb toward self-realization and change is the potential for guilt.
On the road to manifesting what you desire, there are so many little deterrents that can pull your focus away from creating what you want, or interrupt your ability to receive what you wanted when it comes to you. However, few things steal your dreams and your time like guilt. It is incredibly insidious as it often disguises itself as something worthwhile--like a bridge to your conscience--when in reality it serves only to prevent you from moving forward.
Guilt is selfish, locking you away in a tiny place within yourself. It removes you from action; therefore you don't fix what you are feeling guilty over. Furthermore, if the guilt comes from something you cannot change, the feeling of remorse keeps you attached to it so you cannot accept it and move on. In either example you are at a standstill, which will not aid you in creating the life experience you desire.
Being a writer in Southern California certainly has advantages and disadvantages. While I am completely focused on any job with other people, an exceptionally beautiful day or a phone call with my girlfriend can distract me from my solitary work, if I'm not disciplined. Even my cat can pull me away from my computer if I haven't fully engaged in a project.
It's customary for me to set goals for myself, hence, several weeks ago I outlined a number of themes I was going to write about along with dates of when I would send them out. I envisioned how they would be received based on the time frame, and got to work. Just as I got started, I found my time being usurped by a variety of other demands. As much as I tried to get my work finished according to the original schedule I'd set up for myself, I was getting further and further off track. The other tasks were inescapable, yet rather than re-assessing my schedule, accepting the circumstances and setting a new goal, I began to feel guilty about not getting my work done--as if I had more control over it. When I did have time to work on my projects, I couldn't concentrate, because all I could think about was what I hadn't finished. The guilt interrupted my ability to assess my situation properly and move on so I could still create a portion of what I wanted.
How often do you embark on a goal only to have circumstances arise that seemingly delay your time frame? If you accept what is happening and work with what you've got, you may find out that everything stays on track. I am positive that if I hadn't indulged myself in guilt, I may have been much closer to my original goal. Instead I cost myself even more time and productivity by wasting time thinking about what I hadn't completed.
At other times our guilt stems from inner beliefs or teachings from our childhood. For example, having grown up on the East Coast I learned that being productive was essential. We always had a reason to work. Even the first several warm days of spring were spent raking leaves and cleaning the yard rather than sitting back to enjoy the long awaited warmth of the sun. All the neighbors just seemed to keep busy.
The line between having a good time and being lazy was so closely drawn; we simply worked to be sure we weren't being lazy. Since I always had a tendency to work too much later on, I really looked forward to the difference in lifestyle and work culture that I saw on the West Coast. Rainy or snowy days were the ones most often used for relaxing, ironically called "lazy days," so once I arrived I had trouble with the consistently beautiful weather. Almost every day was sunny, which meant it was a good day to get things done. Finally after a few months of non-stop activity, I began to realize that I would have to make the choice to slow down and enjoy myself rather than waiting for the weather to give me permission to take a day off.
Before I had reached Southern California, I had envisioned its warmth, sunshine and laid back attitude; I wanted more days of sunshine so I could balance work and play easily. It was my goal to manifest a lifestyle that included lunch at a café in the middle of the day, and being able to make weekend road trips to nearby yet distinctly different locales. Here I had envisioned myself driving along the palm-laden streets, and yet once I manifested it, I couldn't enjoy myself because I felt guilty about taking the day to peruse shops, hike, or simply drive around the city. I felt guilty about enjoying the very environment I had worked so hard to make my reality. How many times do you set out to create something wonderful for yourself only to allow guilt to keep you from truly receiving and enjoying it?
We can also bring guilt on ourselves directly as a result of actions we have control over. Guilt is a very selfish emotion because it serves no one but you. Conversely, acceptance paves the way for beneficial action and change. For example, we are right in the midst of the holiday party season, which means many of us will have tasty treats at our fingertips we won't see and taste again until next year. Other than the occasional company barbecues and summer picnics, the holiday season usually abounds with the most opportunities to celebrate the season, work, friends and family. Are you going to enjoy yourself or find reasons to feel guilty?
Maybe you worked hard to look great in an outfit you bought; will you celebrate that personal achievement, or feel guilty after comparing yourself to somebody else? If you choose to indulge your palate, will you enjoy it, or call attention to yourself by chastising yourself for sampling the goodies? As silly as it sounds, this is the perfect example of how useless guilt really is to your cause. If you have eaten the treat, you've already consumed the calories. You can either enjoy having eaten the calories you've ingested, or you can feel incredibly guilty despite the fact that you've consumed the calories. Your guilt will not erase your action, or change the fact that you ate what you did. You can either accept it and derive some enjoyment from treating yourself (then perhaps pass on the next plate), or indulge in guilt robbing you of a good time, while still left with the calories to burn.
Holiday parties are wonderful metaphors for the abundance you envision in your life. Just as your life includes a varied landscape of love, friendship, career, and more, the spread at a holiday party includes desserts, appetizers, main dishes, candies, etc. The tables usually boast an abundance of choices just as life does. How do you approach the abundance before you? Do you embrace it with delight, contemplating what you want and making your selections? Do you rush at the table with an urgency to gather as much as you can without consideration, as if you will never enjoy such a buffet again? Perhaps you stand back in awe of the beauty, hesitant to enjoy that which has been placed before you.
At the next holiday party, take a moment to observe how you respond to the abundant spread before you. It may give you important and valuable clues as to how you are approaching the vision you possess for your life.
Guilt will always try to come on the scene; it is your choice to let it hang around. Ask yourself what the source is, then, accept what it is, re-assess your situation and take actions that will move you forward. Guilt can be seductive; there are far better emotions to indulge yourself in. You could always visualize yourself running in circles on the hamster wheel knowing that once you get off you can actually accomplish something.
I hope you will enjoy all that this season has to offer you, making good choices and enjoying the abundance before you. Don't let guilt steal your time and the enjoyment you can derive from experiencing life.
If you find yourself feeling guilt, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can explore how to release you from those feelings and empower you with the tools to manifest what you desire today.
Best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!