Tag Archives: freedom

Freedom from False Guilt

January 8, 2014

Guilt does not serve the soul. Over lunch today, after overthinking and overexplaining something, I was faced with a firm countenance—the visage of a long-time friend letting me know, even without words, that guilt clouds growth. More importantly, it overshadows hope and well-being.

Guilt is a trickster. It sneaks in and makes you second guess, doubt, dwell and overthink. For most everyday situations, guilt is not productive. It should be reserved for true offenses and wrongs. However, so often, overactive guilt flirts with the conscience. This “false guilt” is a burden and a self-imposed limitation. It leads us, through our own willingness, down paths of “if I had only” or “what will others think” or “I would hate to be judged.”

Some of my life’s inheritance has been guilt, having come from a well-intentioned but unsustainable upbringing of percussive “sorry” speak. Perhaps you know this . . . “I’m sorry” being spoken for every little real, perceived, imagined or possible instance. I even recall saying I’m sorry once for breathing too loud.

Thanks to friends who pointed it out and helped me see the difference between empathy and responsibility, I started breaking that cycle years ago . . . and amen to its demise. Today was simply a healthy reminder that assuming offense and jumping to excessive remorse is just, well, silly.

So, channel the energy you spend in false guilt. Save yourself from the burden. Spare others the messy texts and day after remorse, and keep your apologetic words for moments that truly call for them. For, then, the meaning is intact and your heart is free to nurture hopeful growth.

Strength in Comfort

March 3, 2013

What does comfort mean to you? Is it tangible or intangible? Is it elevated on your hierarchy of needs or an elusive afterthought when it’s convenient?

Obviously I esteem comfort, as it is one of the chapters in “The World Needs Hope.” Like huggers to hand shakers or sunbathers to spf blockers, everyone slides on the comfort scale to their precise spot at their preferred time. While by no means universal, a mini-poll did result in top comforts among those I know:

  • Having your hair gently brushed or scalp massaged
  • Fluffy blankets fresh from the dryer on a rainy day
  • Favorite foods, aptly dubbed “comfort foods”
  • A worn in but not worn out pair of jeans
  • Floating in a swimming pool on a warm afternoon

During this exploration, a close friend plunged me into a beautiful pool of reflection on comfort. You see, she holds comfort at the very core of her life. Being one of the more hopeful people I know, I wanted to better understand how comfort took up this honored residence in her wonderstruck world.

What came out of the dialogue enlightened me. As I dug deeper, it became clear that comfort was an anchor. What she, and so many of us, truly wanted from comfort was facilitation—a pause from the melee of concerns, a haven from the so-much-to-do distractions and a sense of the freedom to focus on living well. Ah, comfort as freedom made total sense.

After all, a greater sense of comfort inspires us to relax, to be our true selves, to release burdens, lower stress levels and to hope for a brighter future. So, give yourself permission to embrace comfort, suspend judgment of those who see comfort in different forms, offer comforting reassurance as a beacon of hope to others and don’t throw out that childhood teddy bear (or, in my case, lullaby lamb) just yet. Comfort can be a strong ally.

Free your spirit to shift worrisome energy to hopeful action in pursuit of your dreams. I invite you to share what comforts you in the comments below.