Tag Archives: perception

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.

The Leap from Judgment to Joy

May 1, 2013

When you were a kid, did you ever pick dandelions? Bright and yellow, puffy and soft—I adored collecting them in bouquets, making Barbie® hair accessories, using them to draw on the sidewalk and (to my chagrin now) popping the tops off. When I later learned that dandelions are “weeds,” that news was perplexing to me. How could something that brought me so much joy be judged?

To be fair, many lovely things have a hazardous side (e.g., the prettiest berries can be poisonous). However, in the case of dandelions, we now know their nutritional and therapeutic value. Why in the world am I going on about this plant? It will make complete sense in a moment.

Last evening, I heard the ominous grind of my rear brakes and, reluctantly, opted to postpone a creative gathering scheduled for today. At first, I felt put out; then I realized that the early morning walk from the auto shop to the natural grocery store was a blessing—air, exercise, nature, time to unplug and promise of a healthy breakfast. This week has been crazy, prepping for trip departure, sorting through 30+ years of memories and running all over a smoldering hot desert. When I saw a dandelion fighting for it’s three square inches of existence, I thought of how we choose joy or we choose judgment.

For instance, children learn to like or dislike certain vegetables, to compliment or ridicule others, and to dream of possibilities or worry about problems by the examples they find in the people around them. Reflect on what you carried up with you as you grew to adulthood. When you think of the joy in your life presently, do you think of it brimming over or running low?

Now, compare how much time and energy you spend in judgment. Think it’s a small amount? Well, do you groan about your weight in the mirror, unload verbal onslaughts in traffic, find yourself saying how others can’t do their jobs based on some perceived incompetence, or repeatedly look at the flaws and falls happening in the world?

Awareness is crucial. I openly admit that it’s a struggle for me too. I have made progress, but it took empathy, presence and letting go of ego. Most judgment is us reflecting our shortcomings, fears, personal frustrations, unspoken expectations or disappointments on the world. In other words, judgment comes from you and can be filtered by you.

Ready for something that will rock your perception? Consider this:

“If we can accept that we are the sum total of all past thoughts, emotions, words, deeds and actions and that our present lives and choices are colored or shaded by this memory bank of the past, then we begin to see how a process of correcting or setting aright can change our lives, our families and our society.” – Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona

It’s up to you how your internal self sees the external world: bothersome . . . or beautiful.