- Mental Health
Creating Reality: The Role of Guilt
More and more I experience others feeling “guilty” when they first entertain the idea that maybe we create our own reality. That must mean the perceived messes of life are our *fault*, right?! Well, that would assume that we did something *wrong*…
Personally, I’m trying to let the unhealthy (for me) concept of guilt go because it only serves to make me feel bad. While some may think guilt itself is good, after a life time of feeling guilty, I personally prefer not to beat up on myself and that’s what feeling guilt does to me, for the most part.
Down to the basics
Guilt is defined at www.dictionary.com as: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
So natural guilt after doing something wrong can help a person feel responsibility and remorse when that also comes naturally in the “normal” person. It would follow then that the person could use guilt constructively to institute change in their life. On the other hand, excessive guilt feelings over stuff we haven’t actually done *wrong* do not serve us except to make us feel bad perpetually.
Excessive guilt and abuse
A good example of this is the person who is sexually abused. The person may be made to feel it was their *fault* (by others or society at large) and therefore feel guilty. And I can see where accepting the idea that we create our experience of reality could seem to follow to *blame* the person for the experience happening to them. That’s where I’d argue and say I think we have to count out those habits of guilt, shame, and blame.
To say we are powerful creators of our experience is not to blame. It’s just to say that we have more creative power than we likely realize. Does it mean the child asked to be sexually abused? No! Does it mean the experience was actually good when perceived bad? No! It is or was what it was to the person who experienced it - all feelings are valid.
The person who feels like the victim doesn’t do well to feel it was her fault. Fault indicates she did something wrong. Experiences just are what they are in that aspect. We can go over and over what we’ve done to *create* an experience and that just serves to confuse the issue. The fact is that what is done is done. The past is in the past. Now is our chance to figure out how to move forward, as in “Keep moving forward,” in the new Walt Disney children’s movie, “Meet the Robinsons”.
Negative experiences can be perceived as opportunities to learn and move forward. We do not have to sit in feeling bad because of what has *happened* for our entire life. Although, on the same token, we certainly have the right to feel that way if we want to! It just gives a lot of power to what has happened, instead of the person feeling powerful herself in her life right now.
Experience can create our reality
Think about this: A child of say 5 and her friend who’s a similar age decide to play, “I’ll let you see mine if you let me see yours.” This goes by with giggles and the children part from this game of “peek” and play a more child like game of house later (clothes fully on). The kids explored naturally the hidden genitalia. No one was hurt. They move on and play and aren’t phased at all. It was like looking up each other’s noses to them. What idea do they both come away with from this experience?
Now, same scenario, except the boy’s mother comes in and finds the two playing the game of “peek”. She freaks out thinking something is terribly wrong and says, “You stop that!” Almost pulling her own hair out, she ushers them to another room. Now, both children have the idea they have done something very wrong and feel confused, sad, and angry themselves. The girl goes home and says nothing to anyone about it, but cries to herself that she must be really bad, and her genitalia, too. What idea do they both come away with from this experience?
Okay, same scenario, except the boy’s mother comes in and finds the two playing “peek”. She laughs and says, “Okay, you two, you’ve figured out boys and girls are different. Any questions?” Children get to ask, mom answers honestly, without too much info, just enough. Then a discussion follows about why in our culture we wear clothes and cover our genitalia - this will vary per family beliefs. What idea do they both come away with from this experience?
Each child would walk away feeling differently based on their own upbringing and many more factors. However, mostly the direct experience of what happened would affect them. Then… they can carry that experience for life or decide to look at the experience for what it was and decide to move forward from it, not letting it rule their life.
I relay these examples to show that a whole bunch of factors are present in our experience, including our experience of certain feelings. I didn’t even get into what led up to the game of “peek” for we both know that can vary greatly! The reasons we experience certain feelings more than others in our life can be something worth paying attention to.
Guilt - what role does it play for You?
I’m having this conversation here about guilt because whether or not you have any inkling of accepting you are a creator of your experience in any tiny way, it may be of benefit for you to look at guilt’s role in your life. I’m not telling you what to do - it’s just an idea…
Obviously I think in accepting the perspective, the only way someone can do it at all and NOT feel bad would be to count guilt, shame, and blame OUT of the equation. That’s just my opinion. It may seem radical, but one could look at guilt as an opportunity to absolve one’s self from the guilt, rather than to just feel it perpetually. To really look at the situation and decide whether or not they want to feel guilty. Do I need to feel guilty about this? Is it something I have truly done wrong or is it something someone else has said that’s “made” me feel this way?
Guilt is a feeling so it is naturally in the person feeling it. I cannot make you feel guilty. I can say really horrible stuff to you or claim you’ve done something wrong, but it’s up to you to feel guilty. Some would say in a rational, emotionally healthy person guilt would naturally be felt whenever the person does something wrong. But we know that to not be totally true. We feel guilt for various reasons. Sometimes it serves us, and sometimes it does not. What I’m trying to say is we really don’t have to feel bad for things we have not done *wrong*.
Accepting that we create our own experience of life does not mean everything that we’ve experienced as bad has been our own fault, or something we’ve done wrong. It is accepting that we do have the power to create and that experiences we’ve perceived as bad just are what they are. It’s all in our own perception whether or not something is bad.
If you can take anything of what I’ve said it’s this, from one human to another: Be easy on yourself, be kind to yourself. Absolve yourself from the guilt you feel, let yourself move through it - you don’t have to carry it around! :o)
About Rainbow Recognizer
Amy Phoenix is a gentle, yet direct parenting guide and healing facilitator dedicated to sharing insights and practices to transform frustration and anger, heal the past and nurture conscious relationships – to appreciate all aspects of life. Visit her at www.innatewholeness.com.