Why Guilt is Destroying Your Life (and How to Let Go of It)


Last year, I didn't go to see my family for Thanksgiving. Now, this may not seem like the worst thing a person could do (after all, maybe my family lives far away, or maybe I opted to spend time with friends or a significant other, so I couldn't make it because I had a good reason). You might think that, but no, my mom lives six miles away, and no, I stayed home, by myself, and I ate the entire pan of sweet potato casserole that I made that morning. And oh yeah, I felt guilty.

I felt enormous guilt because I knew that my not going to my mom's would upset my parents, as well as my uncles. I tried to talk myself into it, but I didn't have the emotional equity. My family is special and wonderful and perfect, but I couldn't bring myself to see them. I beat myself up. I told myself that a spiritual person wouldn't do something as horrific as not going to see their family for Thanksgiving. Then, I accidentally stabbed myself in the leg with a very sharp pair of scissors while cutting a piece of leather.

Guilt is the worst emotion we can feel. More than just the obvious effects of guilt (feeling terrible, beating ourselves up, even harming ourselves), it also has major metaphysical effects: Guilt is our way of asking the universe for punishment. 

What sort of "punishment"?

  • sickness
  • accidents
  • injuries
  • debt

When we feel guilty, we are telling the universe that we are not worthy, as we have been mean/uncaring/not compassionate/not good enough, and what do we deserve in return? Punishment.

Every time we feel guilty, we are quite literally manifesting (though law of attraction) negative people and circumstances.

It is easy to get caught up in the story our minds feed us: I should fill-in-the-blank. If I was a good person, I would fill-in-the-blank. Maybe I could be more caring? More giving? Maybe I could've done more.

Tell yourself that those thoughts aren't true. Here's how to let go of guilt:

1.Don't believe everything you think. In my case, I made the best decision at the time. I felt immense anxiety (and even a bit of depression) last Thanksgiving, and so the thought of leaving my apartment felt like too much. I just couldn't do it. My mind wanted to tell me that I was a bad person because of it, which, obviously, isn't true. My inner-critic was eager to beat me up, to tell me how I wasn't a good daughter. Well, she wasn't right.

2.Forgive yourself. Repeat this all throughout the day: I forgive myself, and I love myself. If your guilt is linked to another person: I forgive name-of-person, and I love name-of-person. I forgive myself and I love myself. Say it till you're blue in the face. Reprogramming your subconscious mind, which is the purpose of an affirmation, takes time. You are building new neural pathways in your brain. Say it. Say it again. Rinse and repeat.

3.Write love letters to yourself. This activity seems so silly. You're probably thinking: That's a waste of time! I've got better things to do! You're wrong. You've got nothing better to do than up your level of self-love. All throughout the day, your mind is vicious, telling you that you need to lose weight, or you need to be a better daughter/lover/friend, or you're not good looking enough, or talented enough, or it's unrealistic for you to pursue your dreams. We barrage ourself with the "realities of life". Try barraging yourself with positive beliefs about yourself: Dear Jessie, You are just the most beautiful and thoughtful person ever! Make the letter long. Include specifics. 

4.Do a cord cutting meditation. If your guilt is linked to one person, and it doesn't seem to be diminishing, sit in meditation, and imagine yourself snipping a cord of light that connects you to him or her. Everything that manifests in the external world first happens internally. Be willing to release someone; sit quietly and imagine it. We are linking to others through karmic bonds that we can let go of. Rip up the soul contract. Through it away. Cut the cord and repeat: I send you love, and I release you. I forgive you, and I release you. I thank you, and I release you.

Be willing to let go of guilt. Even if you don't know how, pray and ask the universe for help. All questions are answered, and all that's required is just the tiniest bit of willingness. Guilt will wreak havoc on your life if you let it. So be willing to let it go, and instead, choose peace.

Jessica Leon