On Regret

Dear True Self,

I have so many regrets in my life. So many times I have failed, said or done the wrong thing, hurt people. So many times I have sabotaged my own life or not taken opportunities. It’s so hard to move forward with all this regret, and I know that I will have more regrets as time passes. How can I break this cycle?

Sincerely,

Bets on Regret


Dear BOR,

There is some good news. Regret means that intuitively you realize something very fundamental. It is the most obvious truth about life that most people spend their whole life denying. You are lucky because regret means that you see this truth, even if only at an unconscious level.

What is this truth? It is quite simple really. You have realized the most basic and overlooked fact about life:

You are mortal.

If you lived forever, would there be any question of regret? No matter what happens, you would always have a second chance. Time is not limited for you if you are immortal, so it doesn’t matter how much you fail, how much you err, how many opportunities you miss…there will always be a tomorrow.

But you don’t live forever. So every time life doesn’t happen the way you want, you feel regret.

If you’re delusional and think you’re immortal, regret would rarely show itself to you. You might think this is a silly thing to say, who after all thinks they will live forever?

It’s not that people believe they will live forever. They just act as though life has somehow guaranteed them that tomorrow they will be here. There is no such guarantee. They don’t understand the preciousness and value that is the life they have right now, in this moment. If they did, when it is wasted, they would of course feel regret.

So there’s the good news. Regret is evidence you are not delusional about your mortality!

Before you get too excited, there’s one small catch: You are not consciously aware of this. If you were conscious of your mortality, meaning that you understand at a deep level that life does not guarantee you more time – you would not waste a damn second on regret, you would only work on making your life beautiful.

Life has given you an expiry date, only you don’t know when it is. So regret becomes a compulsive reaction to when life doesn’t go according to your preference. You’re going to die. This isn’t to be morbid. It’s a a wake up call. Stop regretting and start living.

It’s not about fearing death as a motivation to live. It’s about appreciating the life you have.

If you observe life, you will see that nothing ever really dies. What you have identified as you dies, but life always goes on. There is no death. There is only life becoming more life.

Sometimes Disney gets it right you know? It’s the circle of life! The physical form dies, but only to become something new. Then that new thing dies to become something else. And so will you. It is inevitable.

For another perspective, how many things died, have continued to give their life, for you to be here in this form? From every breath you take to the food you consume, in how many countless ways did something give itself to become you? You have a responsibility to live life as full as you can.

Have you ever heard the saying,

“Live each day like it’s your last”?

The saying isn’t about suddenly panicking and draining your life savings. It just means that whatever is happening in life, you make the most of it! The only obstacle to you living the life you want is you.

This is really the deepest form of regret. Not that which we tried at and failed – failure is our greatest teacher. No, people regret most of all that they didn’t do.

How many times have you made excuses to live life the way you wanted? Decided not to learn that language, go to that gathering, take that class, talk to that person…essentially how many times have you avoided doing things that you truly wanted to do?

I know I have made it sound so simple, to just live the life you want. You may be wondering how you will magically know how to act if you just realize you are mortal. It’s not about knowing what to do. It’s about knowing how to be. If you remember your life is precious, gratitude is inevitable.

Gratitude is like a key – it opens many doors in your life. Be grateful for the life you have now, in this moment, whatever that moment looks like. With this one small practice, regret will just fall away, I promise.

With gratitude,

Your True Self

Click here if you have a question to ask Your True Self. All questions are anonymous and may be published unless specified otherwise.

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On Patience

Dear True Self,

I am a very impatient person. I hate waiting and if something doesn’t happen right away for me I tend to drop interest. How do I learn to be more patient?

Sincerely,

The Impatient Patient


Dear TIP,

Patience is a misleading term.

Have you ever seen how a child behaves when told to be patient? The antsyness, the fidgeting – they become like a ticking time bomb! This is what patience tends to look like, and not just in children. Often when adults say they are being patient they are just hiding those same qualities. You know this to be true for you as well. You claim patience, but it is just a lie.

If you practice patience in this neurotic manner, only impatience will grow – please see this. What you are calling patience is actually your impatience.

You have become so fixated with the outcome that you go crazy waiting for it to arrive. If it doesn’t arrive or looks like it isn’t going to, then you’re out! And who can blame you, you’d have to be an idiot to want to stay in such a neurotic state.

So you play this game of being “patient” – which is just you sitting and fighting as your impatience grows. The more you fight, the more it grows. The more you wait, the more you can’t wait any longer.

You’re accomplishing the opposite of what you are seeking – rather than becoming more at ease, more at peace with the process, you are just becoming increasingly more frustrated with it.

If you are to stop this vicious cycle, you must understand what true patience looks like.

Patience is not about waiting for something to happen. Patience is just simply about waiting.

Waiting is a certain quality you embody. You don’t wait for anything. You don’t wait for some result, some outcome. You just wait. If you do not learn this distinction, you will be missing out on the whole process.

But True Self, what’s the point of waiting around, if not for something?

Let’s say you are trying to grow vegetables in a garden. You are starving, and you want the vegetables now. If you approach it like this, with your impatience leading the charge, salivating in agony, will that make the vegetables grow any quicker?

Everything takes it’s own time. You must do the work necessary. In your vegetable garden, you must ensure the proper soil conditions are maintained, there is sufficient sunlight and water, etc. Then, you simply wait. You wait, and you watch, you listen. When it is time to step in to keep the growth on track, you do so.

But when you become concerned only with what you are getting and how to get it quickest, you become a lousy gardener. A lousy gardener means a lousy garden.

This isn’t about gardens and vegetables though. The garden is you, the vegetables are the experiences of your life! Do you want to be a lousy gardener or a masterful one?

We live in such a results driven society. People have short attention spans, they want satisfaction immediately. But this is not the way life is, and life will not let you get away with it. Even if on the surface some things seem to happen immediately, it is not true. You just aren’t seeing the deeper process that is always at play.

You must examine this universe and see how it operates. Observe the way the planet spins, the way rain falls and evaporates, the way you turn food into your very body! If you pay even a moment of attention, any fool can see that there is always a process to get from one place to another.

There are no shortcuts, only people who fail to see the meticulous process at work. It doesn’t matter what you are talking about in this existence, no expression of this universe happened without a process. From the smallest subatomic particles to the largest galaxies and all in between, the life process was at work.

So you must learn to wait. Not to have impatience masquerading as patience. Not to give a shiny label to your neurotic way of waiting. Drop the idea of getting a result. Drop the idea of receiving anything. Instead, you just give your undivided attention to what is happening right now.

Admit that you don’t know what is happening in this moment. Look at it with eyes that are happy to wait. Be at ease and see the beauty of the process at play. Who knows what it will grow in your garden? But if you would rather keep up your facade of patience, then you will miss out on more than you can imagine.

With gratitude,

Your True Self

Click here if you have a question to ask Your True Self. All questions are anonymous and may be published unless specified otherwise.

On Love

Dear True Self,

I am very lucky and have many wonderful people in my life. I love them dearly, but sometimes I still get frustrated with their actions. When things are good I feel great love. When things are challenging I almost want nothing to do with them. How do we practice love always, unconditionally?

Sincerely,

Conditional Love


Dear CL,

Love is not something you do. Love is something that you are.

What you are calling love is not love. Though you may have many pleasant feelings towards people in your life, what you have is a reward and punishment system. If expectations are met, you reward with loving acts and feelings. When your expectations are not met, no love. Tell me, does that sound like love to you?

You mentioned loving unconditionally. This often becomes some big burden or endeavour in people’s minds. It’s not some big puzzle to be solved. The only way to love is unconditionally!

First you must realize that simple truth. Then you will see what you are calling love is only a shadow or a whisper of the real thing that you employ only when it suits you. Love can only be unconditional. Anything that is conditional is not love.

Love is like a fragrance. When a jasmine flower blossoms, it gives off a sweet and beautiful aroma. It doesn’t decide,

“This person is a good person so they get my aroma, that person is nasty so they can have a nasty aroma…”

Doesn’t the whole idea of selectively exuding the perfume sound ridiculous? The flower has blossomed. It has gone through much to bloom into this beautiful piece of life. To give off the fragrance is a natural consequence of a certain unfurling, a certain transformation. Once that blossoming happens, the fragrance will come out no question.

You must make yourself in such a way that you look upon everything with love. Then you will exude love in every encounter, in every endeavour. You exuding love is not dependent on who is receiving it any more than the jasmine flower. You exude love simply because you have blossomed. Loving thoughts, loving words, and loving actions will be natural consequences of your transformation.

You are asking about how to act lovingly when you are bothered by other’s actions. Let’s be real, it’s not about love. What you need is more patience, more perspective, less attachment, etc. That is what you should be working on. That is the soil from which love can bloom. If you want the fragrance, you must work in the filth to grow.

I don’t want to make it sound as though you have never felt love in your life, or that every act you have done lovingly is somehow a lie. These acts have most likely come from a very loving place. The issue is that you have sullied them with so many expectation and rules.

Let’s say you have a child. You look at the child with such love and adoration. You have become attached to your child. Because it is your child, you feel it is some pure form of love. I am saying why can’t you have that love for other children? For other adults? For yourself? Have love for all life!

The reason exuding love is so difficult for you is because you have too many preferences. You love this thing more than that thing. You have so many rules to your love. If you want to be more loving, then you need to be all inclusive. You need to see that you are capable of loving every single atom in this existence the way you would love your own flesh and blood.

Expand your definition of what deserves your love. Look at a leaf with the love you gaze upon your child with. Look at someone who annoys you with the same love. Look at as much life as you can with that same quality. Don’t reserve love and hoard it, saving it only for a select few. Let it explode forth like the jasmine flower’s fragrance, in every direction!

You are afraid that if you aren’t selective with your love, somehow you are enabling those who wrong you, or people will take advantage of you, or that they don’t deserve it. You loving everything has nothing to do with them. You are cultivating your fragrance. If you become picky and choosy, nothing will take root.

There is a difference between how you are within and the actions you take in the world. To look upon even the most annoying person with love doesn’t require you to do anything with them. You don’t have to say a word to them even. You don’t even have to be near them. You just love them. That’s it.

You can communicate to them your frustrations, you can cut them out of your life, you can befriend them – none of that changes the fact that you are capable of loving them exactly as they are.

When love bursts forth from you in this way, including everything and everyone, it transforms into a higher form – compassion. You feel what you once only reserved for a select few for all of life. Love should always grow like this, infinitely expanding and encompassing all.

After all, what would you rather have – select moments of love, or the highest possibility of love in your life?

With gratitude,

Your True Self

Click here if you have a question to ask Your True Self. All questions are anonymous and may be published unless specified otherwise.

On Punishment

Dear True Self,

You often speak of turning inward rather than outward. Practicing kindness to others, being pleasant…But aren’t there times when we should turn outward? I’m thinking about all the people that do horribly cruel things in the world. If we just turn inward aren’t we  letting them get away with it all? What’s the use of turning inward if we never punish people for wrongdoings. How will they learn?

Sincerely,

And Justice For All


Dear AJFA,

There is a difference between how you respond and what action you take in the world. First, we must establish this difference if we are to delve into what punishment people deserve.

When I say respond, I don’t mean what you say or do. You always have one simple choice in life – either to live it consciously or compulsively. In other words, to respond or react.

When you react you are just running on programming. Your life is not in your hands.

When you respond, you choose how you want to be in the moment. Your life is in your hands. Maybe you wish to be joyful in this moment, but are struggling. That is fine. You have brought consciousness into it, and now you can do the work it takes.

But if you just react, you are rolling the dice with your life. Merely waiting for happy times and trying to avoid the hard times. Life will not let you get away with such a stupid way of being.

So now let’s look at your question. You see something cruel happening in the world. How do you want to respond to that? Do you want to feel empathy? Do you want to be part of the solution? Do you want to help? If you don’t go inward first, all these doors will be closed to you.

Instead let’s say you go outward first. You see that same cruel thing happening. But now you immediately turn to thoughts of who should be punished. You want someone to pay the price. You no longer care about helping the situation or solving anything, you are only concerned with pinning the blame. Now someone gets punished, you think justice has been served.

Tell me, how many people have been punished for their crimes? For murders, for rapes, for wars, for just about everything. Has it eliminated any of it?

“But True Self, being part of the solution and punishing those responsible don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Shouldn’t we do both?”

Except the vast majority of people will not do both. Look around you and within yourself. How many times have you seen something unfair or unjust happen in your lifetime? How many times have you immediately thought of who to punish instead of offering to help?

This isn’t about holding hands and singing kumbaya and ignoring the problems that are out there. This is quite the opposite. If the problems of today are going to be solved, we need more action oriented people do we not? Punishment is a distraction from the real work that you could do!

Turning inward is the only way you will see all the ways you are uniquely qualified to help in this world. Every individual is capable of doing such great things, if only they stopped projecting everything outward and just did the work necessary within themselves.

What work is that you ask?

People are afraid to move through life with full involvement. We want to help, but we make so many excuses to stop or to not even start at all. If you can look within yourself and remove the obstacles, then you can start walking your life with full force, without hesitation. It is only these types of people who are accomplishing anything in today’s world.

So let’s say you turn inward and become part of the solution instead of the problem. Now let’s look at the nature of punishment and when if at all to apply it.

The reality is we as a society agree on certain rules. When those rules are broken, we have some punishment laid out. This is fine in theory, but there is no greater punishment than that which we give ourselves.

Life is organized in such a way that everything has a consequence. While some people may seem to get away with the most horrific acts, the reality is their acts have consequences. Sometimes those consequences ripple outwards and cause even more harm to others and the world. But just as everything ripples outwards, so does it ripple inwards.

So even if a person feels no accountability at all for their actions, it doesn’t matter. It’s not about them feeling bad about what they did or being punished. It’s not about some god giving out punishment or reward. Just realize that life is made so that every action has an effect. No person can act cruelly in this world without it having internal consequences.

This is why I am always saying to turn inward, to choose the way you want to be. Life responds to you always, without exception.

The more you choose pleasantness within, the more your life will start to reflect that. The more unconscious you are, the more you shirk accountability, the more reactive you become – the farther away your potential is.

It may not always seem like it, but trust me when I say the saddest thing that can happen to a person is to never experience the true nature of their existence.

Don’t be so concerned with punishment or reward. It is just a stupid game you play to avoid taking action in your life. That avoidance is punishing you, right here, right now.

It is true there are many injustices in the world today. You would have to be an utter fool to not see it. But it is also true there are billions of people who are capable of helping. Please see it is not truly punishment you are after, it is just a better world.

If the world is to become a better, more peaceful place, we must first make the people better and more peaceful. Our world is just a reflection of who we are inside.

Quit making excuses and embrace turning inward!

With gratitude,

Your True Self

Click here if you have a question to ask Your True Self. All questions are anonymous and may be published unless specified otherwise.

On Vulnerability

Dear True Self,

I get taken advantage of in life constantly. It’s led me to become very weary and cautious of people and situations. I find myself wanting to just avoid or protect myself from difficult situations. I’ve been vulnerable in the past and it just has caused me so much heartache. Still I’m tired of walking around on eggshells in life all the time. How can I stop being taken advantage of and live my life?

Sincerely,

Disadvantage Point


Dear DP,

What you are asking is impossible. There is no way to be cautious and live life fully. You will only ever be half in, half out.

Do you know how torturous it is to go swimming in a cold lake by only dipping your body in inch by inch? This is what exercising caution is like. You want to swim, but are afraid of the cold water. Rather than dive in totally, you make it into a long and drawn out endeavor. By the time you get in, if you get in at all, the whole process was so unpleasant you will either vow never to try again or you will jump out after not that long.

You say you are being taken advantage of. Indeed, it can feel awful being used. When someone uses you without your consent, that is the worst feeling. Most people consider rape to be a more horrific act than murder. This is simply because you are being forced to endure something you didn’t agree to, and have to live with the aftermath.

Why am I saying all this?

You see, when anything happens to you in life that you didn’t do willingly, it can feel like you are being raped in a way. Your willingness is the only difference between something being rape or not.

Am I trying to say you just roll over to all your bullies and transgressors in life, becoming a willing participant? No, I am saying that the more willing you are in life, the less you will feel the victim.

In a way, life is always taking advantage of you. But not just you. All life takes advantage of all other life. The trees take advantage of your carbon dioxide. You take advantage of their oxygen. But this way of viewing it is a bit narrow. It’s not that you are at a great loss because you let out what they need to breathe. And neither was it a great loss for the trees that you took what you needed.

This is just the nature of life. Sometimes, we are giving. Other times, we are receiving. But tell me, even if right now every tree is exuding oxygen, if you hold your mouth and nose pinched shut, will you get any?

Or let’s say you were afraid to breathe in. For some reason, you have become scared and it has made you cautious of all trees. So you only breathe in the bare minimum, paranoid of what may go wrong. Doesn’t it sound ridiculous?

The truth is, vulnerability is the only way out of your fear. The answer is not to close yourself off more. The answer is not to find some way to be cautious and somehow involved. Those two are not congruent. There is no middle ground for life. You must be all in!

Let me put it this way: How alive you feel in any given moment is equal to how involved you are. Isn’t it that the less involved you are, the less alive you feel? Caution is the path to less involvement, less aliveness.

“But surely true self we must be careful of our survival! We can’t all just go on living with reckless abandon for our safety”

You need to realize that your safety is very rarely ever at risk. We are not fighting for our food and shelter in jungles full of tigers anymore. This is not to say we are never at risk. In fact, your life is never a guarantee. There are no guarantees. This is why being vulnerable is all the more important.

Because life has not guaranteed you anything except that you will die someday, you must learn to live this life as fully as possible.

Deep inside you believe that you will somehow live a long time. You think there is time to be cautious and live inch by inch because you don’t understand that you are mortal. I am telling you to wake up, there is no time except what you have right now.

Sometimes life throws us extremely difficult situations. Sometimes it appears others are to blame for it even. But the external is never within your control. Things will happen. That is life. What you make of it is the only question. If you are willing to be involved, your life has potential. For that you need vulnerability. But if all you want is safety, then caution is the way, but it will fail you in the end.

A seed is made that it can survive almost anything. It can fall from great heights, get run over, become buried…it can endure so much! So resilient. But only if it stays as a seed.

If the seed wants to become the flower, it must drop its hard shell. It must throw caution to the wind and decide to endure unknown difficulties. The soil will be dark, the bedrock hard, the light absent! If it only stayed the seed it could even survive a millennia. But it would never know it’s potential that way.

So the seed chooses vulnerability. To be vulnerable takes courage. Yes, it means you can be taken advantage of. But just as the sprout turns literal shit into a flower’s fragrance, so too can you turn what life gives you into your own beautiful experience. Tell me, would the seed ever become the flower without all that shit? Without all that difficulty?

Being vulnerable does not mean that you seek out difficulty in life, or become some pushover. It means that you realize that unless you are open to all life gives, including the difficult parts – you will never blossom, never realize your true potential.

Believe me when I say you are uniquely beautiful with something no one else has to offer. Caution may give you a long, safe life. But only vulnerability will teach you the quality of your life means far more than the safety of it.

With gratitude,

Your True Self

Click here if you have a question to ask Your True Self. All questions are anonymous and may be published unless specified otherwise.

 

On Blame

Dear True Self,

I have a hard time taking responsibility for things in my life. I place the blame on others for the circumstances I am in. But sometimes, it feels like if other people just acted differently my situation would be different. What should I do? Should I be accountable even when something isn’t my fault? I feel like that just enables others and isn’t empowering me.

Sincerely,

Same Old Blame Game


Dear SOBG,

There is a difference between assuming responsibility and taking action. Just because you take responsibility doesn’t mean you have to do any external action. It just means that you are choosing how you want yourself to be.

When you take responsibility for the things in your life, it opens up possibilities. Even if something is not your fault, not your doing – it is still best to hold yourself accountable.

The truth is your life is your responsibility, and no one else’s. When I say life I don’t mean the people you know and the job you work. Life is you! You are life! Shifting blame takes it out of your hands.

You can never control the external circumstances 100%. In fact, for the vast majority of situations in your life you will have very little control – over how people act, the setting, the timing, etc.

But the good news is you can learn to manage your internal world. That is 100% in your power. You may not be very good at it, but it is within your capability to learn how to manage yourself in such a way that your life is beautiful.

You see, if you want your actions to have a certain result, so many variables need to move accordingly. But no matter what the result of your actions, if you don’t take responsibility for how you are, then you are just a reactionary human being.

It doesn’t matter what someone did. In your mind, they are at fault. You want to blame them. But it’s never that black and white. If you don’t see your role in the situation, you will never grow. You will never learn. You will only strengthen your ability to blame others and avoid your own self.

Blaming others is a very tempting game to play. It takes all responsibility from you, shifts it to someone else, and since you can’t control the other, you can just walk away and proclaim “It’s all their fault, but what to do?

It doesn’t help to blame yourself either. This isn’t about blaming anyone. Or when things go well this isn’t about taking credit or assigning credit. This is about moving from a reactionary mindset to a responsive one.

When you react, you are unconscious. Something happens, it triggers you in some way, and you react. But to respond means that you have taken the reigns of your life. No matter what life has given, you can make the choice of how you want to be.

Let’s say someone is helping you move some furniture, and they drop it on your foot. The reactionary mind will jump immediately to pain, anger, blame. But that will serve neither you nor the person who dropped the furniture. It won’t make the pain go away. All it will do is poison your mindset, create a self-talk that is toxic.

But what if in that moment you make a choice to respond? Maybe you still had an initial reaction, but you are able to take a moment and think about how you want to be right now. Yes it hurts. Yes it is unfortunate the person dropped something on your foot. But tell me, when in a moment of pain, would you rather make the experience more pleasant or more unpleasant?

Obviously you would not choose to make the situation worse. Yet that is exactly what blame does. Only when you take responsibility for your own reactions can you turn them into responses.

So you take responsibility for that furniture on your foot. It’s not the other person’s job to make sure you respond in way that’s best for you – only you can do that. This doesn’t mean you are some cowering lamb who says “You didn’t drop that furniture, I did. It’s my fault, I blame myself!

There is no fault. Something just happened that you didn’t prefer. What will you do with that situation? If you shirk your responsibility and blame, you will satisfy yourself in the short term. But in the long term, you will lose sight of the truth – that your happiness and well-being is a path you constantly walk, not some reward you can claim.

If you want to walk that path, it will not happen unconsciously. So stop blaming others for how your life is in this moment. Your life is your doing. It’s not your blame or their blame. It’s just simply your doing.

Isn’t that fantastic? Your happiness is not in someone else’s hands! All you have to do is take responsibility for how you are in this moment, and the freedom to act in your best interest will become available.

This is why blame is pointless – not because of some morality of who is right and who is wrong. That kind of thinking will only bring you surface level satisfaction. If you want life to flourish for you, take responsibility for everything that happens. Blame only robs you of the freedom to live the best life possible.

With gratitude,

Your True Self

Click here if you have a question to ask Your True Self. All questions are anonymous and may be published unless specified otherwise.

On Guilt

Dear True Self,

Whenever I make mistake, even if it’s a small one, I feel so guilty. Especially when it comes to other people that I have hurt, I feel tremendous guilt. It feels so hard sometimes to let go of my guilt and I just feel like I don’t deserve to move on from it. What can I do to get rid of all this guilt?

Sincerely,

Guilty Until Proven Innocent


Dear GUPI,

Guilt is a personal hell you create for yourself. Once in it, all vibrancy from life is gone. All will to see the beauty in life seems out of reach, impossible to ever see again. You feel like the only option is to go deeper into the guilt, intensifying it. I feel great sympathy for those trapped in such a torment. It’s the worst kind of prison.

We all make mistakes from time to time. In reality, there are no mistakes, but often when things don’t work out the way we hoped, we may label our actions as mistakes. There has never been a single human being who has ever lived who had 100% of their actions go the way they wanted. I would wager that no human has even had 10% of their actions go as they wanted. The important thing is that you do what you can to learn from them so you don’t endlessly repeat the same mistakes over and over.

Guilt can not help you learn. Guilt doesn’t help you grow. Guilt doesn’t serve you or anyone else around you. It only serves itself. It’s important to learn to see all your so called failure as an opportunity, otherwise guilt is inevitable.

Failure will always be the greatest teacher we have in life. A wise person will make the most out of any situation they give to them. Life is always bursting with opportunity and possibilities. But guilt puts you in such a state that you will see no such avenues. Only one path is before you: more guilt.

To have guilt is like having a heavy rock on your chest. It weighs and pins you down. It is all you feel. You can’t sing, dance, jump, play…how can you when there is such a heavy weight burdening you? On your heart of all places? For you to feel alive again, it must go.

So far I haven’t given you much of a solution to your guilt. I’ve only described what guilt is and how it operates. It is important you understand the nature of guilt so you know how to navigate out of it. Most importantly, so you know how to not feed it in the first place so you never have to navigate out of it. Tell me what’s better, endlessly putting rocks on your chest and having to remove them, or not putting them there in the first place?

I think we can both agree, guilt is not a useful state of being to put yourself in. So let’s first look at what got you into it in the first place.

There is a part of your mind that is obsessed with achieving results. Unless you can get a reward for your actions, you won’t go for it. This part of the mind is where guilt is ready to pounce. The moment you take the risk and fail, guilt rushes in to tell you how stupid you are for making that mistake and how bad you should feel. It is always there to tell you that you should have known and done better. Guilt is your worst critic, not just because of how harsh it is, but because it’s totally and utterly wrong about you.

Just because you fail doesn’t change the fact that you are a wonderful human being. All people are. I don’t say this as some feel good reassurance. There are plenty of people in the world doing horrible things, sometimes even you fall into that category. But you are all still wonderful. That is because to be human is wonderful. It is the most advanced form life can take on this planet, an evolutionary marvel!

Above all, each human, including you, is unique. No one else will ever be like you or has been. You have many special things to offer. Existence would be incomplete without you here right now.

You don’t have to do anything to be that special person either. You already are. But you believe that somehow you are incomplete, and so you keep on chasing being different than how you are.

It may sound like I am saying two opposite things: Make the most of life and grow and change, and at the same time you are perfect the way you are and don’t need to change. That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that you are full of unlimited potential. If it is unlimited then by it’s very nature you can never achieve it.

That might not sound reassuring, that you have unlimited potential that you can never achieve. But you should always desire to grow, because that is how all life functions. To deny or suppress it will drive you crazy. Still at the same time, keep the stable foundation within you that you are special, unique, beautiful. You’re not growing or changing because you’re trying to get anywhere, it’s just so you can enjoy the ride!

You see, if you can learn to shift your way of being from results focused to process focused, then guilt won’t have as much power over you. What do I mean by this?

Let’s say you are washing your hands. Of course, there is a reason for doing so – you want them to be clean. Perhaps they got dirty, perhaps you’re just keeping off the germs. Like this, every action you do will have some result. Sometimes that result is a benefit, other times, not so much.

If you had no goal, no reason to wash your hands, why would you ever do it? But if the goal outweighs the journey, you’ll never really experience the joy that can come from such a simple act. The sensation of the water running through your fingertips. The temperature against your skin. The feeling of rubbing your hands together. There is so much more to be involved in during the process than there is with the result.

I’m not talking about obsessing over meticulously cleaning your hands like some kind of hand washing fanatic. I am just saying that your attention needs to shift to the moment. The simple pleasures of the moment and all they can offer you. It may seem like a silly exercise, but it is truly a gift that you even have hands, have water! If washing your hands was the last thing you did, wouldn’t you want to be as involved as you could be?

Let’s say instead you wash your hands but care only about the result. Then the only way that you will do it is robotically. Because having the result of clean hands doesn’t require you to enjoy even one second of the process, you will place no importance on the pleasantness of the experience.

If you go about life achievement obsessed, there is no room for beauty. Every time you fail will just be a moment of self criticism. You will be so hard on yourself. Eventually, that seed of constantly seeing failure as an obstacle will blossom into the guilt you are feeling now. Guilt is a complex and ugly flower, ready to mask all beauty from your experience of life.

The hardest people to help are those that don’t feel they are worthy of the beauty of life. When someone is in such a hell, it’s hard to give them any solution. But you must bring yourself back to the beautiful things life has to offer, or get help doing so.

Don’t let guilt rob you of this gift you were given, this experience of being alive here and now. Don’t believe all the lies it whispers in your ear about your inadequacy and unworthiness.

Guilt will fall off your chest if you stop feeding it. Now is not the time to isolate yourself from the things that you love and enjoy or to deny yourself the simple pleasures each moment has to offer. No, now more than ever is the time you absolutely require them.

With gratitude,

Your True Self

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