Oh, the Guilt…and Letting Go.

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” ~ Alan Watts

I tend to carry around a lot of guilt.  I don’t know why.  I joke around that it is because I am Catholic, but really, I only am in the technical sense.  It could be because I am the first-born and am constantly trying (and many times failing) to take care of everyone.  In all honesty, the reasoning probably isn’t that important.  I’m constantly worried that my words and actions (or lack thereof) are hurting the people who are closest to me.

It’s a terrible feeling to have guilt over a situation and an even more terrible feeling to share with others.  They either assume you are egotistical and think you think the world revolves around you, or they see it as a grave emotion, one which will alter the space-time continuum because it means you think you should be making a different choice.

I have been wondering lately if guilt really is about actually feeling bad about certain words, feelings, and actions or if it is more a way that we make ourselves feel bad simply because we know in certain situations we are supposed to feel that way; almost as if it is a type of penance for the action itself.

For some, guilt hardly exists at all, and when it does, it is fleeting and inconsequential.  For others, it drives them literally mad.  I feel like I am somewhere in the middle.  I tend to suffer from just enough guilt to kind of ruin my day or a situation.  And the funny thing is I tend to feel it even when I know I shouldn’t…even when I really don’t have anything to feel guilty about.

I’m having trouble letting go of the guilt and I’m not quite sure what, if anything, I should do about it.

Frankly, I seem to have a problem with letting go period.  My head can sit down and make a logical argument on why I should let go of certain situations.  I can make valid arguments as to why things are better a certain way.  It looks so good and paper and I get so proud of myself for making the right decision, the informed decision, the logical decision, the guilt-free decision.

And then there’s my heart; who doesn’t care about my logical arguments and all that other bullshit.  It just wants to run free through a field of wild flowers and feel the most emotions (whether good or bad) that it can.

I wish they would take to each other more and maybe work out some form of compromise.  But then again, as I’ve stated before in this post, I tend to be an extremist.  With me, so many times, it’s all or nothing.  All heart or all head.  I realize it shouldn’t be that way.  I realize it is completely unhealthy, yet I do it anyway.  The most horrible part is not how these types of actions affect me, but how they affect the people around me, especially those involved in the situations and circumstances (oh, hello guilt, nice to see you again).

I’m pretty sure this is why I have such a hard time letting go.  Because for me, letting go means: close curtain, finished, finito, nothing more, final, culmination, and most importantly, the end of the road.

Do I have trouble letting go simply because I’m selfish and greedy and I want things my way or no way, or is it because I’m not ready to give up yet?

In any case, maybe it’s time I had a talk with my heart and had her back off a little for awhile and let my brain take over.  She could probably use a vacation anyway.


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