Many of us come to a point in our lives when we may realize the error of our ways – past and present. Once we come to this realization, we may be racked with guilt, embarrassment and shame over things we may have done or said that caused pain to others.
I’ve never met anyone, to date, who hasn’t done, said, or felt ways that they later regret – that’s the process of learning who we really are and the catalyst that led us to growth. Uncomfortable – yes. Unbearable at times… you bet! But the key factor here is that we’re finally taking “ownership” of our situation. Even if we don’t fully understand the “root” of it all, we’re still now being self-effacing and putting our cards on the table so that others may learn the way.
Oftentimes, we worry that when we finally come “clean” and admit our indiscretions, we run the risk of losing friends and loved ones. But this fear is unfounded because any “friends” that we may lose in the process of being honest about who we really are will simply be showing their own true colors. As the saying goes, we never really know who our friends are until the going gets rough. True friends can never be lost. Only those who formed alliances with us on conditional bases will find themselves estranged because their agendas are no longer being served.
Shame, guilt, and embarrassment are nothing more than the misguided conclusions of ego. These “dark” feelings are not the true YOU. They are expressions of the ego-self and there is a world of difference between the two. YOU are a reflection of Creation – LOVE. Many think that to be loving is all that matters, but fail to realize that this includes loving themselves as well. We believe that forgiveness is divine, but somehow fail to forgive ourselves in the process.
We are all products of this mixed up place of duality and struggle. We are not responsible for creating the struggle. We are only responsible for how we conduct ourselves within the struggle. But in order to take responsibility, we must first recognize that there’s something to take responsibility for. When we come to the realization that we’ve behaved in unloving ways, the feelings of regret that ensue are simply barometers letting us know that we’re finally ready and willing to take personal responsibility for our actions. This is highly commendable because it’s neither easy or comfortable nor is it the path of least resistance.
There’s a difference between ignorance and arrogance. When we act in a negative way but don’t realize the full measure of what we are doing at the time, we’re simply acting out of ignorance, a state of unawareness. Arrogance on the other hand involves knowing good and well what we’re doing is harmful and why, yet we do it anyway because it gives us pleasure to dominate and control others – with complete awareness. Regret simply signals that we’ve emerged from a previously “ignorant” space into acknowledgement, which is all good….right?
Some speak of the idea of transference – where we project onto others those emotions that have been triggered by another individual. So, if we’re really angry at a parent, boss, etc., but lash out at our partners, children or others, we are misdirecting (or transferring) these expressions to innocent others instead of the intended individuals. In an ignorant state, we may not realize it, but its far easier and “safer” to scold our children or kick the dog than it is to address – head on – those people who represented the source of our negative feelings.
Transference (in this context) is simply the projection of buried angst, misdirected. Because it’s often “safer” to target someone other than the intended recipient, we lash out and the story unfolds. Once we realize the pattern that has played out, we suddenly react with shock and regret. Shock yes – but shame no.
Remember that all people cross our lives for sychronistic purposes. We cannot know – from our vantage point – what the “others” were in the game for, but suffice it to say that we were their catalyst as much as they were ours – all by design.
To harbor shame is to fail to recognize that we all go through challenges for the purpose of transcendence. There’s an old saying – “you have to transcend it in order to end it”. Many of the “issues” we face as adults come from very early life experiences that we cannot remember in a concrete way, but there still lingers an emotional memory – and those memories are perhaps the most difficult because they lead us to feel and act in ways we don’t fully understand.
The process of coming face-to-face with our indiscretions is merely a “transitional” period of emotional and spiritual growth. Is it any wonder that during the labor and delivery process, the moment just before birth is called “transitioning”? This is the most difficult and painful part of the delivery process, yet it’s welcomed as the moment just before new life is brought into the world.
If you’re undergoing the dynamics that I’ve described, realize they are nothing more than “labor pains” and that your new birth is imminent. We mustn’t attempt to bury or avoid this process anymore than an expectant mother would desire to push the newborn back into the womb! To be successful, we must acknowledge our indiscretions, make amends and move forward.
This includes the very important element of self-love and forgiveness. To ask others for forgiveness is important, but not enough. We must also be willing to forgive and love ourselves as we learn from our mistakes.
Linda’s website is:
The Power of Social Consciousness