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Dealing With The Guilt Trip: The Man In The Mirror

Updated on February 12, 2013

FROM RASCAL FLATTS


“I've dealt with my ghosts
And I've Faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I've found you find strength in your
Moments of weakness
For once I'm at peace with myself
I've been burdened with blame
Trapped in the past for too long

I'm movin' on”

Talk about the power of music. Those lines from the song “Moving On” by Rascal Flatts hit me right between the eyes back in 2001. They must have been written for me.

THE AWAKENING

I know today that we all have ghosts and demons, but I did not realize that fact for a good many years. I carried guilt upon my back like a backpack with shoulder straps that were permanently attached to my shoulders. I could not lessen the burden of that backpack and in fact, the more I moved forward the heavier the burden became.

The ghosts and demons were of course produced by yours truly. They were hard-earned and I was deserving of them, and interestingly enough I came to appreciate them, feed them, and find solace in their proximity. I suspect that there are many out there who understand that statement. Guilt and shame over our past actions are natural responses, but if they are not dealt with they become leeches that suck the very life blood from our veins. We identify with them, as though they are an integral part of who we are, rather than a glimpse into who we once were.

When I first heard this song I cried. Eleven years later I no longer cry, but I do still listen to it as a reminder of a life I no longer embrace nor wish to embrace.

You see, this pilgrim has finally moved on.

The scales of justice
The scales of justice | Source

Moving On

THE COURT OF LAW

In the court of law there are sentencing guidelines, a parameter if you will that gives judges some framework when it comes time to hand down punishment for crimes. For example, the sentencing guidelines in a state might be five to ten years for involuntary manslaughter. Some states might have the death penalty for first-degree murder while others have life imprisonment without parole.

Unfortunately, there are no sentencing guidelines for guilt and shame. We are the judge….we are the jury….and we decide how long we are going to penalize ourselves for our shortcomings.

Prior to 2001 I could find no way to forgive myself for the pain I had caused others, and myself, in the past, and so the backpack of guilt increased in weight with each day. I had made amends to all of those I had hurt. Many forgave me; some did not. However, I never forgave myself, and in that omission I had sealed my fate and condemned myself to a life of unhappiness.

Free from the burden of guilt
Free from the burden of guilt | Source

THE SEED HAD BEEN PLANTED

I would love to tell you that overnight, after hearing that song, I came to my senses and changed my life, but that transformation would take five more years. Finally, in 2006, faced with a certain death if I did not change, I remembered once again the words of that song and decided to cut the straps and rid myself of that backpack.

I took the greatest step in my life and I forgave myself.

I did regret my past, and in truth I still do, but I have found contentment in the fact that I am a spiritual being having a human experience, and as such I am and always will be prone to exhibiting my human frailties. In other words, I am not perfect nor will I ever be perfect, and today I find solace in that fact.

DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?

And you? Are you living with shame and guilt? Is that shame zapping you of your very life blood? Does that guilt bring you to your knees and prevent you from standing tall and looking in the mirror? Do you understand just how self-defeating it all is?

The demons slink in the shadows. They are a different shade of gray, barely distinguishable in a certain light. People who know you may not even see your demons, so adept are they at blending into their surroundings. We are, after all, the consummate stage actors, able to deliver our lines flawlessly and appear, to all who witness our performance, as though all is well in our world. We play our characters to perfection, and when the performance is over and the curtains have lowered, we go back to our secret place and the demons come out again, always ravenous and always exacting their pound of flesh.

Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt.
George Sewell

What is this fear that is mentioned by Mr. Sewell? Why would guilt spawn fear?

I can only speak from personal experience, but I know in my case I was terrified that people would find out that all was not well in Bill’s world. I was terrified that people would find out I was not who I appeared to be, that there was a serious chink in my armor, and if there was a chink then I could be harmed in some way.

We are only as sick as our secrets and my biggest fear was that my secrets, which caused so much guilt, would be found out.

And so I continued my performance on stage all the while I was being eaten from the inside out by the overwhelming guilt and shame. Needless to say, this is not a healthy way to live.

It seems to me it all begins with loving oneself

THE ONLY SOLUTION IS TO DEAL WITH THEM

I’m not sure we ever completely banish guilt. Still today, during those quiet times at night as I reflect upon my day, I can feel it close by, near but untouchable, like some distant memory. Like some former lover, the scent on the sheets, the last remnants of energy still moving haunted through the shadowed rafters, guilt steals away and eventually slips outside my door, allowing me to sleep once more.

Such is the nature of guilt, even when it has been, for the most part, vanquished. Now, like everything else in my life, the guilt of days gone by serve as a learning tool for me. Yes, their muted voices can still be heard and yes, their ghostly eyes can still be seen, but they are just specters now with no substance, like wisps of smoke that dissipate in the wind.

They are secrets no more, and that must mean, by extension, that I am no longer sick.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      That song affected me back then, and it still gives me goosebumps to this day. We all have our demons, and I have had a couple of times in the past when they were gnawing at me. I let go, and it is easier to move on. It is hard to let go of the past, but since there is now way to turn back time and do things differently, we need to push through and be at peace with a new version of ourselves. We have the power to change.

      I don't think there is a quick way to change. Something that takes a long time to do takes a long time to resolve, or let go of.

      As usual, very good article, Bill. Thanks for sharing a part of yourself with us. Hopefully this will help people who are in the midst of suffering from guilt.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 4 years ago from Georgia

      Hello, this is sure to resonate with so many who religiously read your work. We are all human and suffer the frailties of the human condition, making mistakes and virtually stumbling through this earthly existence.

      Unfortunately, we don't get a play book, but we can learn so much from the experience of others who are willing to so generously share their wisdom and "solutions." Learning to live with who we are, warts and all, is hard but so necessary. This is a wonderful read for anyone who is really interesting in healing and ultimately loving themselves.

      So well done! Voted up. We don't have a button for inspiring, but it is a very inspiring article.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      So true that they only thing you can do is deal with whatever guilt or baggage you are carrying to indeed move forward. I think we have all had our fair share, but I would like to think that at least in the here and now that for myself I am in a descent place. Don't get me wrong I have my moments, but then again I think we all do, but it is the overall that counts. Have of course voted way up and shared, too!! :)

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I love that you share yourself so generously. I want to write on the subject of guilt--I thought about it a month or so ago--but it's difficult.

      I used to think that I should feel guilty because I deserved it. Now I know that it only paralyzes and keeps me from being any good to this world. There's a big difference between regret and guilt: regret is a healthy way to learn from our mistakes and move on all the wiser; guilt eats away at our souls, magnifies our mistakes, and makes us forget that we are fallible human beings.

      The next time Guilt comes to visit you, just tell her that the billybuc fanclub will be over soon to kick her butt.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Guilt is such a painful emotion. I think we are all burdened with it..You know I had a Jewish mother and she wrote the book. I think it is like dwelling on the past..there are no advantages to current life. You said it well as you always do..and yes we do have to let ourselves off the hook.

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      Beth37 4 years ago

      Wonderful hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathryn, you give us some great insight and lessons to be learned in your comment. I do not believe there is a quick way to change either; time takes time is one of the lessons I learned a long time ago. Just keep moving forward and try to stay positive. We are, after all, just humans. :)

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Many of us live with guilt and you "hit the nail on the head". I felt very guilty about the way I felt about a family member. I never approved of her life style. I stopped speaking to her and wanted nothing more to do with her. That feeling ate away at me until I realized I should not be her judge and jury. It was her life. I felt better after I asked her forgiveness, and even though I still don't approve of her lifestyle, I feel better knowing she forgave me for the way I felt.

      Voted UP, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cyndi, thank you so much. No, we don't get a play book. I suspect that even if we did many wouldn't read it. LOL If this inspires anyone then I am one happy writer.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, you are right of course. it is the overall that counts, but it is so hard to lose sight of that in the daily grind, and I think that's where guilt comes from. Thank you as always my loyal friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz....LOL....that would strike fear in guilt's heart now wouldn't it? Thank you as always, and I like that you differentiated guilt from regret. I think regret is healthy if used as a learning tool, as you pointed out.

      thank you my Dunedin Dynamo!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I'm not sure which is worse, a Jewish mother or a Catholic one. LOL Both seem to feed off of guilt and then the trickle down effect occurs.

      Thank you Carol; I appreciate you greatly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beth from Tennessee, thank you very much.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, thank you for sharing that personal story, one I am sure we all can relate to. I have asked forgiveness a few times in my life, and it has a great healing effect.

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      Justsilvie 4 years ago

      Guilt seemed to have had a renaissance in my body this last year. Marrying an ex seems to let loose a barrage of all you ever did to wrong to them the first round. He said nothing in the past mattered and he was also not blameless, But, I had to let it out and now the goal is to let go of it.

      Your Hub spoke to me personally as they often do. My never ending smile covered up so much.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Guilt is such a big unnecessarily spiritual and physical bag upon our shoulders. The enemy will use it to put us down and make us feel we do not have value. Very good article with true words. Confessing to one another if an act of humbleness. Sharing our most intimidate feelings is an act of love because we give hope to others. We are important and Christ took our sins on the cross. We are more free than what we think once we have the knowledge, acceptances and feeling of repentance and redemption. Thanks and blessings for sharing!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      "Human frailties"...oh Bill, how we all have them. You have carried the responsibility for your actions more than long enough. Your guilt, remorse, whatever burdens you bear from the past should be lightened by your acceptance of your deeds and your contrition. Each piece you write about your struggles certainly helps others but Radcliff is right. Keep up the good spirit and go and hug Bev! God Bless.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • jcressler profile image

      James E Cressler 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      It is amazing how many of those dark secrets that seemed so bad, when confessed with brutal honesty, whither away under the light confession to "No Big Deal." The secret became worse than the original sin.

    • wayne barrett profile image

      Wayne Barrett 4 years ago from Clearwater Florida

      Its amazing that I came across this piece this morning. I have been dealing with tremendous feelings of guilt in the past couple of months, and on my way to work today it was weighing heavily on me. I've lost two loved ones recently and both of them went right after we had negative encounters. I know that this is something that I have to work through. It just hurts knowing that instead of goodbye, there were harsh words. This article is perfectly timed for me.thank you!

    • poojasd7 profile image

      poojasd7 4 years ago from India

      As somebody said: It's all in our minds. We create our own demons and fight with them for whole lives more than with our real-world enemies. I have faced lots of such demons in my mind, created due to my own thinking which was the result of guilt, low self-esteem and pressure from certain people. But as the time passed by, I have learnt to let them go and I have forgiven myself. Learning to forgive oneself is the most difficult task. Yet, it is very rewarding and helps a lot to move on in life.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Silvie, you have more courage than I have, marrying an ex. I am not being silly when I say that. That is a tough row to hoe for sure, and I hope things get better for you soon. Bless you my friend; if this hub helped you then I am happy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maria! There truly is great freedom in confessing and asking forgiveness. If more people understood this, maybe they wouldn't hold onto guilt for so long.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I learned many years ago that guilt would kill me if I didn't deal with it, and for the most part it is gone now. My word of advice to others....you can either get rid of guilt and enjoy life, or you can be miserable...and it is always a choice.

      Thank you my friend; a sad day today in HubLand.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      jcressler, you just said it perfectly...the secret became worse than the original sin. Man oh may, you sure got that right.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wayne, that's how it was with me and my father when he died. We were barely speaking; I was twenty and convinced I knew everything...and he dropped dead of a heart attack. That kind of guilt stays with you for a long time. You don't need me to tell you how unhealthy that is. :) thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pooja, if you have learned that wisdom at your young age then you are in good shape for the rest of your life. Well done my young friend. Stay wise!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      I'm reminded of a quote from Bishop Fulton J Sheen that has always stuck with me : "Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits." Great hub Bill.

      Thank you for sharing this with us. Russ

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Russ, that is a great quote, and Sheen was quite a character, wasn't he? I remember him clearly from when I was a kid. Thanks for that.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow billy this is another awesome hub.. just brilliant.. reminds me of my life..lol

      I really think you are brilliant

      blessings

      Debbie

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      Excellent as always, full of heart and wisdom! You are a role model, a testimony to those who are struggling with themselves. You are proof that anyone can pull themselves out of the poop pile of life, and that it's never, ever too late, as long as you are breathing.

      I consider you to be one of the great MENTORS of HubPages! Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debbie, thank you so much and the feeling is mutual my friend.

      blessings to you and yours

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, I am now blushing. Thank you so much for those kind words....the poop pile of life...I love that and yes, it is possible to climb out of it, but one has to be willing.

      I hope you are well my friend; I think of you often.

      bill

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, You are such a wonderfully generous person to share all your personal journeys. I know your trials will help others overcome theirs. We can all identify; humans are innately imperfect, thank the Lord. I couldn't deal with perfection--it would blow my mind!

      Voted Up across the board my friend.

      Pearl

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I can barely spell perfection let alone live it. LOL Thank you as always for your kind words and have a wonderful day my friend.

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      We have all done things that we are not proud to have done. As long as we seek forgiveness for what we have done and try to be a better person, I think that's all we can do.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill...This is a beautiful and profound writing, enhanced by the baring of your soul. You are such a generous person, willing to use your own experiences--even the painful ones--to help others.

      Many (probably, most) of us have actions in our past we regret--things we wish we had either not done or something we failed to do that we now wish--too late--we'd done. However, guilt only burdens the soul and hinders the ability of a person to rise above the past and go forward in a positive way.

      Even regret, while it helps us learn from our mistakes and not make them again, should not be given the energy required to dwell on it overmuch. That energy can be used to do something much better.

      Once again you've given your readers something to think about...chew on mentally, as it were. This one is a marvelous winner! Thanks.

      Voted Up++++ and shared

      Jaye

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Excellent hub! so much truth here. I'm glad that you have moved on from the chains of the past. The video is awesome! I learn a lot through listening. I wish you could have been my teacher. Thanks for the words of wisdom. voted up useful and awesome!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, true words. That is all we can do. We may not be forgiven but that is none of our business. Our job is to ask for forgiveness and then move on in life.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, I wish I could have been your teacher too. I loved my years of teaching; I had so many great experiences with some fantastic kids. :) Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, thank you very much. I love this style of writing and I love that it makes people think. I think it is so important that we all learn from each other, and that we all learn to reflect on life. Beats the heck out of the alternative, which is to never learn and to never exercise our ability to think deeply. :)

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill...You've published so many terrific essays on HP. Have you considered publishing a collection of them in a book? The essay style is enjoyable to read, and many of yours point others toward ways to improve. Self-improvement books usually sell very well because--let's face it--most people have the wish to improve themselves, either philosophically, physically or both.

      Jaye

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Bill, have you ever thought that having the terrible episodes in the past have brought you into a self awareness that otherwise might be lost? I am a firm believer that through careful analysis we find ourselves. I know without a shadow of doubt, this happened to me. I am able to move forward with only an occasional look back. Meditation is a wonderful healer. You are such a good writer..Cheers my friend.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, so glad you have overcome the burdens and guilt from your past. They must have weighted heavily for all those years. But all of those moments from your past have led you to right where you are today. I look at life as a series of forks in the road. Each one takes us further through life and leads us exactly to where we are today. Had we taken a different path our lives may have been different from what they are today. We make the best decisions we can in life. That is all we can ask. Another great job my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I know that for a fact. All of the things that happened before have led me to this place of peace and happiness. I truly am blessed, as are you my friend. Thank you so much for your kind words and friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, you said it all more eloquently than I did. I wouldn't have it any other way, buddy! This is where I am now and I had to experience the bad and the good to get here. Life is good and I appreciate your friendship.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jaye, I have thought about it. It's about number five on my priority list right now, but it could move up any day now. :) I need to figure out how to increase the number of hours in the day. If I can do that I'll be in good shape. LOL

      Thank you kind lady; your words honor me and I am appreciative.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Dealing with the ghosts in our closet, cutting them loose, is HUGE. As you so clearly have shown. Coming to terms with them is so freeing after all.

      I am so glad that you heard that song and found your way back, Bill. You are a gift. Yes, you are. And those who read your writings can not help but be lifted up and challenged to go forth and begin a brand new day.

      Sending you many Angels, my friend....via this magical tool we are using these days :) ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, isn't it remarkable that angels can travel through the internet? I would doubt it but each day they arrive and I have no other explanation for it. :) Thank you my friend; I hope you have a wonderful evening.

      blessings and a hug coming your way

      bill

    • profile image

      Vickiw 4 years ago

      Hello Bill, I keep wondering how you keep up this relentless pace of writing. It is amazing. I feel very slow with my own efforts. I think of guilt as an unproductive emotion, that really hinders people on their journey through life, and is always lurking around the corner, waiting for a chance to butt in. Regret is a given, sadness is often present, but the latter two do not have the same destructive power as the big G. Glad you feel you have managed to overcome yours, and move on. As usual, I am a fan, and don't feel the slightest guilt about that!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Vicki!

      About that relentless writing pace....I'm tiring of it. I think you'll see it slow up soon. I have a ton of ideas in my head, and writing the hubs isn't the problem....I need to make more time for other projects, and hub writing is getting in the way.

      I am very happy to be free of guilt. It almost got me, but I found my way out of the darkness just in time. Thank you for your kind words my friend, and have a wonderful evening up north.

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      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      "They are secrets no more and by extension...I am no longer sick."

      Bill, I have found it the most difficult, yet the most necessary, to forgive myself...in a case where the perpetrator would not accept guilt, I swallowed it up by my survival...until it almost swallowed me.

      I know how strong you are. You show it with your productivity and your message.

      I believe in the mind-body connection so much. I have unabashedly learned that I will never keep up with every thing I would like...that keeping a clean in box syndrome never worked when I really thought I was a perfectionist.

      I say if your body or mind is telling you that you are tired of something...we need to listen. We may need a break, we may need to lessen frequency ...in some personal cases, I needed a total break from the scene, whether work or personal. And I am not feeling the guilt, when I am true to my priorities and loyal to those I care about.

      You always write beautifully and from the heart. I wish I always had time to comment on every piece I read but you are getting votes galore.

      Voted UP and UABI. Love, Maria

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Maria, you stated it beautifully. I, too, believe in the mind-body connection. I am walking proof that a positive and healthy mind can heal a body. :) Thank you for being who you are; I always feel better after reading a comment by you.

      love,

      bill

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Bill how very wise the words of Mr. Sewell are! Guilt gives rise to fear only by getting away from guilt can we hope to move on. We need to understand we can never be perfect and accept ourselves as we are.

      This is such a powerful message which must reach as many as possible.

      Great hub.

      Voted up and shared.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      It is very hard to forgive and forget, but having said that it is the best thing to do in life. Great write.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is hard, Vellur, but if we don't forgive and forget we are only hurting ourselves. :) Thank you for another visit.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Well written. My negatives float in the sea of positives. Every now and then they wash ashore.

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      Beth37 4 years ago

      hmmm... that's a very beautiful comment, mhatter.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, spoken like a true poet. :) Thank you, Sir!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beth, it was indeed.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, once again I thank you! Life is certainly better when guilt is not weighing us down. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Absolutely stunning piece of work, Bill. ...I'm sorry. The words that could truly describe just how good this is just haven't been coined yet. I get back to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Letting go makes your shoulders lighter or your chest less stressful, and moving on makes you feel good about other thing in life, truly a great piece of work here, thanks for sharing this Hub.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Dear Bill,

      Thanks so much for yet another refreshingly honest hub here. We all do have our demons for sure of the past, and it is those very mistakes that have made us who we are today, as we eventually, and hopefully, learn from the past. The past is the past and will never be, and we must move on, learning and forgiving oneself and then we are able to live in this day and love ourselves and others. Yes, I am sorry for some past mistakes and have made amends to those who I may have harmed by words or in deed, but I do not regret those mistakes, as I would not be who I am today if I had not made those mistakes. Just like you now, you are able to share your experiences with others, and help those now, and if you had not gone through what you had gone through, then you would not be here sharing with others. When we are young, it is a given to make huge mistakes and/or just not be the person who we should be, but thankfully as we grow and mature, our eyes are opened, and it is possible to change no doubt!

      Great insightful hub here.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing.

      Blessings, Faith Reaper

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Yes Bill, it is. We band together!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I'm quite happy with "stunning piece of work." No need to continue. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DDE, thank you so much. I will be by to see what you posted today soon.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, an excellent summary. My mistakes are so much smaller now; they are manageable, and as long as I'm willing to review my day and admit to the mistakes, my life is very good. Thank you for a wonderful comment.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, we do indeed, and it's a great group that I am banded with.

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      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      shame and guilt, eh, Bill? Why not just tackle the BIGGIES head on..

      i can't imagine one soul on the planet who doesn't carry some shame and some guilt - unless, of course - we take into account the psychopaths, the sociopaths, and the narcissists - which would definitely decrease the numbers - in the wrong way...

      forgiving ourselves is a day to day effort - at least it is for me

      some days i win the battle - other days it beats me - the point is to TRY..

      you're so right - there is no time limit for our own self punishment - it can be a life-sentence if we don't stand up and face the man - or the woman - in that mirror and - tell him/her that it's alright...

      we're only human..

      great hub, my friend - great message, as usual..

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      This is one of the best Bill. We all suffer in some measure from acts in our past, and as Leslie says in her comment, "forgiving ourselves is a day to day effort," and not an easy one at that. Those 3 AM voices in our head are hard to quiet at times.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      xstatic, thank you! As for those 3 a.m. voices, they are relentless are they not? :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie my friend, so nice to see you. I'll have to go visit you. I was without email notification for four days and I fear I lost contact with some new hubs. As for guilt.....today I say screw it. I'm tired of beating myself up. Life is for the living and I was never fully living as long as I carried guilt around. :) Thank you my dear and I hope you are well.

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      Rick Grimes 4 years ago

      Dealing with guilt is one of my biggest problems in life. I can't stand the feeling of it, it makes me so unhappy and even worse I get sloppy in all my work! I just can't focus.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      healthy, thank you for your honesty. As you well know, there is only one way to end guilt.....and you hold the key. :)

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, Bill this is probably the most eloquent sample of your writing skills you have ever posted. It comes from you heart and soul, which explains how and why I perceive it as I do.

      Before I carry on, the Rascal Flatts song is very moving and speaks to me in so many ways. I can see why you occasionally refer back to it.

      As someone with ghosts and demons both in the past and still tickling the fringes of my being, I have to say that those on the outside looking in see us even when we think we are performing well in the play called Life that we make for ourselves. They are just waiting for us to recognize the fact. Or they are too insecure to step in and make us aware of the demons and help us extricate them.

      This is a very moving message and gives one something to ponder.

      I love you, Bill.

      Your friend for life,

      Sha

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sha! I don't know about you, but not everything I write am I pleased with. Having said that, I was pleased with this one and felt it was a decent representation of what I can do when I really put out the effort. It makes me happy that you recognized that fact. Yes, I suspect a great many people can see that we are play-acting at times. I'm so happy to be done with that nonsense. What you see is what you get now.

      love you too, Sha

      bill

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      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      Kindred, you can freely look at that man in the mirror now and know that he is no longer sick. He is a beacon of love, light, and hope for all that know him. Yes, we all have our demons and the only was to overcome the guilt is to stare them down, own them, and then - FORGIVE ourselves. Sounds pretty simple when you write it, doesn't it? Oh, but it is hard. But...it is the most worthwhile act we will ever do because until it is done, we cannot offer our best selves to the universe. Well done my friend. As I have said before - you have awakened and arrive and I am so damn glad. Hugs!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hey Kindred! What's that old saying...."I have found the enemy and it was me." LOL True words. My first AA sponsor told me he had some good news and some bad news for me. The good news is that the war is over. The bad news is that I lost. LOL I love that.

      Thank you for your kind words and continued support. It means the world to me.

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      picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      You really bared your soul and probably helped a lot of readers who deal with their own issues. Your honesty is so refreshing and helpful. Great hub!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pickles, you know me, an open book for others to learn from if they want. If not, I'm still learning myself, so it helps me to write things like this.

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

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      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... Thanks for this open and candid side of you. It speaks volumes of a man who has found peace. Like you I fought with the turmoil on the inside and yet carried on a different life on the outside. We have been down many of the same roads together and I can relate with you throughout this writing. Forgiving myself was a battle I fought with for years. In 2000 I took the same step as you and since I have found peace. Can I forget about the past. No it is part of the journey that has brought me here today. It is what I choose to do with it that is important. I choose to live free and maybe along the pathway I can help another dump the backpack. Today is what really and truly counts. Do I make mistakes, certainly we all do but it is what we learn from them that is so very important.

      Great teaching here Brother... hugs and blessings from Canada

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rolly, yes, we have traveled many of the same roads, and what a pot of gold we discovered. The best part is it isn't over yet and I'm loving the journey.

      Thank you my friend. I wish you well this coming week and always.

      bill

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I think guilt, like most things in life, is a balancing act. You want just enough to keep you respectable but not so much that you end up paralyzed by past mistakes. I have my share of guilt. It's what keeps me from repeating bad history.

      I'm happy you're freeing yourself from these shackles. It's like being born again.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoneix, exactly, like being born again. I agree, a healthy dose of guilt is not harmful and might just do some good.

      Thank you as always; you are appreciated.

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