Guilt is an inside job. It is as insidious as it is crafty and it is a creature of many disguises, showing up in many different forms.
I liken guilt to a ‘black tar, seeping down the back of your throat’ feeling. For some people, over time, this tar hardens and becomes as forgettable as that on the road home everyday. In others however, and especially us women, it can creep up on us and before we know it, it is not tar anymore, it is been exercised into something we can be much more adaptable too. Sometimes, it even feels like smooth warm chocolate running down the back of your throat, a comfort, an old friend that you are very used to having with you.
Guilt is not a friend though. Guilt is not on the positive spectrum of emotions. It is a negative beast; it engenders dis-calm and dis-quiet and dis-ease. It does this on all levels of the body. If you ignore it, it attacks the nervous system. Like a child continually calling for it’s Mother to ‘Come look, come look’, guilt will not ever let itself be ignored. It calls to your brain and sends it flurrying, it calls to your emotions and send you spiraling, it calls to your body and it can make it ill.
Guilt is a default function of our human brains and we know very well that as a species we are imperfect. Guilt is born inside us and grows with us. It is a travel partner we must assimilate and accept within ourselves. It is a many splendored and faceted thing when one has the courage to delve around in it. Guilt teaches us very quickly when we ask it, that it is not held in trust for anybody else. It does not hang on to actions others feel guilt over. It is as selfish a creature as they come. Your guilt only acts out at you. You may sense guilt in others, you may even know the details but what you more likely feel is sympathy, empathy or supportive. You do not naturally accumulate and assimilate their guilt into your own.
Unfortunately, your guilt is all yours. What’s there is yours and what you decide to do with it, is yours as well.
Training your brain to kick guilt to the curb takes time and practice. It is not a feminist statement but merely one of fact that guilt racks the female more intensely than the male. There are things as females we need to come to terms with and accept as well; feminist or not. These things include but are not limited to, genetics – your direct family history.
History – the story of mankind does not tell a kind tale in their treatment of women throughout time. This is what becomes a ‘collective memory’ that is passed from generation to generation and around the world. Through it, almost world over, females were taught to hone down their individuality and assume a role much quieter and more submissive than their natural state but under far heavier consequences then if they were to fail than there are today in most of the world. Today, the story has come a long way. It is continuance, it is plotline, depends on us as women today in the now and how we want to blaze the trail for our fellow future women to grow up in a more world more prepared for their magnificent talents and skills.
There are many other inherent reasons for guilt. The reasons don’t change its existence, however, it is only action that can do that.
For your own health, become acquainted. The last time I noticed it was eating the last biscuit out of the box. Once you can catch it, you can see it for what it is. In this case it may have been something I was scolded for as a child, who knows? The truth of the matter is I am a grown woman. I wanted a cookie, there was one left and I ate it. If anybody in my household is disgruntled with this, they can go down to the shop and buy more; with the money I make to feed my household and myself. What’s the big deal?
Once you own it; once you can say it, or speak about it, or write it, or simply see it for the uselessness it is, it becomes much easier to pull back the calm in your soul, the peace in your mind and the health in your body.
I wish you well with this challenge. It is one we were all born to face.