“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”~ Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
I have to confess that I have experienced guilt in a way many of you might relate.
When I was just 17, I had a romance with a boy from my school. He was a typical “bad boy” with bad grades, unsuitable behavior, and no attention to formal style requirements. On the other hand, I was a “good girl”, studying well and being an example of good manners.
This guy was madly in love with me, and this changed him a lot. He started studying really well, which later allowed him to enter university and earn a scholarship. He started wearing a suit and a tie because I loved it. He even went to work so he could feel strong with me and give me presents. He was always nice, kind, loving, and caring.
Though I enjoyed it, I kept being quite cold in my heart, taking everything for granted. Worst of all, I asked to break up at the most inappropriate moment, right after my birthday, after having received so much love and attention.
That’s because I didn’t feel close to him in my heart and wanted to finish it asap. So, I acted badly, being harsh and straight with the guy’s feelings, who was fully in love.
He was actually a really good person, who never did me any harm. And even if I had justified myself as being truthful to myself and following my own feelings, The guilt I was feeling more and more intensely, was eating me up inside.
There was no logical reason for me to break up with this guy, especially in such a cruel and categorical way. I would never have wished someone to do the same to me or to anyone else. This guilt drilled my heart, letting me face my imperfection, lack of morals, selfishness, and lack of love.
3 Life Changing Lessons You Learn From Experiencing Guilt
After that, I felt like I deserve to be treated unkindly as a retribution for my act. I eventually experienced the same position, when my love was refused, used, and downgraded. The relief came when I finally realized the 3 life changing lessons I had to learn from feeling the guilt of taking someone so special for granted.
1. Be the Love.
When I am with people, I need to do my best to always be a source of love to them, expressing it as much as I can, because deep inside I can be very cruel. I need to consciously express love, always.
Even though I always believed I was such a “good girl”, who followed all the rules, acted, and looked nice, I discovered a new dimension of myself. I discovered there are different people, who might look different on the outside, but who have the authenticity, courage, and humility to go through life doing their best while not thinking too much about how great they are, humbling themselves to others.
These people are often beyond our definition of “normality” and “coolness” and might look and act strange, but there is much to admire in them. This experience allowed me to look at myself as someone who is far from perfect, and only in such a position, I managed to perceive all the beauty and greatness of the people around me.
I should respect the freedom of others. Even when I want to give them my best, give them my love, they might refuse that. Even in such cases, I should not be selfish, but wish them the best, wish them to discover profound happiness.
I never ran into this guy again, but I really hope and wish he managed to forgive me and let go of the pain I caused him. I send him my love, respect, and admiration for his strength to handle the situation and wish him to always hold onto the nobility he had inside of him.
Did you have the situations in your life where you did something really bad and you still can’t forgive yourself for that and feel guilty? What conclusions did you make after the situation? How did your behavior change? You can share your insights in the comment section below.