Ditch the Guilt

Wednesday January 13, 2021

I was on a Zoom call with some colleagues yesterday. It was a coaching call with one of our directors; exploring the emotions and beliefs in our lives that prevent us from being as effective as we might wish.

As we each talked through our current emotions and where we feel we are with our businesses and our lives, our coach pulled out at random, an advice card for each of us.

You can always find something useful in these cards – even if they don’t seem immediately to apply to your situation, but this time, most of them hit the nail on the head.

“Let go of Guilt,” mine said, with a charming illustration of an angel bearing flowers. “When you allow your light to shine brightly, you inspire others. Forgive yourself for what you think you’ve done or not done, and trust that you are loved unconditionally for who you are. Learn and grow from past mistakes instead of berating yourself for them.”

Jackie, our coach, has known me for nearly twenty years; she laughed. She knows that I am an expert at feeling guilty.

I feel guilty about not having a beautifully decorated clean and tidy home; I feel guilty about not having a more successful business; I feel guilty about not being a good enough wife and mother; most of all I feel guilty about my bipolar disorder.

Well, that’s not quite true. I know I cannot help my condition; none of us can. When life dealt us the cards, we got bipolar or depression; we must play the hand we’re given because we don’t have anything else.

It is not the condition itself which brings on my guilt, however; it’s the episodes of mania and depression and the effect they have on my family, my friends and my clients.

I always feel I should have managed things better. When people say to me, “You were running yourself ragged: you just wore yourself out; you shouldn’t have overdone it,” I take that on and feel guilty, though I know, even with medication, I cannot control the high energy of the mania. Now the fog of depression has cleared, and I can think again, I feel guilty for the time out; for letting people down; for the gaping holes in my memory, and the fact I still get tired: my strength and stamina have not yet returned.

This may all seem very familiar to you; I know I cannot be alone.

I’m going to take the advice on the card and let go of the guilt, and I’d invite you to do the same. We all do the best we can with what we’ve been given. It might be difficult to accept that we inspire others but for somebody, somewhere, we are an inspiration, and we are loved.

We all make mistakes – it’s called being human. Let’s take the lessons and forgive ourselves for those mistakes.

Guilt doesn’t help us; it only harms us.

Let it go.

A Moodscope member.

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