Written by: Maritza Barrera, LMFT
Are you living with guilt? Understanding one simple fact can change your life. Guilt can be a very debilitating emotion. Unfortunately, some of us suffer with this feeling daily. If you are living with plaguing feelings of guilt, remind yourself of one thing...if you could have done something differently, you would have.
Most of us falsely believe that we can change our past. However, if we stop for just one moment in our busy lives to reflect on this, we see clearly that this is an impossibility. The absolute only time we can change is now. If you still don't believe me, try this little exercise.
Clap you hands in the past.
....couldn't do it? You're not alone! No one can do this.
So, if you can't do a simple task like clapping your hands in the past, then why would you think you could change anything about your past? At least without a time machine. So why waste your precious time on this earth with such unattainable goals?!
Guilt is a uniquely human emotion. Other animals do not suffer in this way. As a matter of point, consider the following.
Imagine that a lion is chasing down its prey. Now imagine that the prey
escapes the lion's pursuit. Now, do you think the lion is cursing itself for not running faster,
maneuvering better, and making the kill? Of course not, the lion moves on with its life and tries
again...because its hungry.
So then why don't we, as humans, behave the same as the lion? Because we have the ability to
conceptualize our past and our future. This is our greatest gift and challenge. Viktor Frankl wrote in
his book The Will to Meaning, "[...] it is a privilege of man to become guilty, and his responsibility
to overcome guilt."
Therefore, when you find yourself feeling guilty just remember, in that moment, a moment that
exists in your past, if you could have done something differently, you would have done something differently.
Maritza Barrera is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and Qualified Supervisor. She is the owner of Pure Empathy and works to fulfill her mission of promoting awareness, compassion, and acceptance to everyone she can reach! Welcome to the light side! #nerdybynature