Anyway, I am now dealing with a situation in which I feel a very deep sense of regret and guilt. This isn't a situation that I can make it up to the people I feel I wronged. Looking back on it all, I feel so strongly that I utterly failed to stand up for what was right and good. The thing is, that if I had acted differently, the outcome wouldn't necessarily have been any better or worse... but at least I would have done the right thing.
So anyway, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with this kind of guilt at this point in my spiritual journey. In my Catholic days, I would have gone to confession. Because that's what Catholics do when they feel guilty about something. But honestly, in this case, I don't think that kind of thing (confession) would be helpful (even if I were still catholic). I just haven't dealt with this level of guilt since I left the church... mostly because I allowed myself to be free of any outwardly imposed guilt.
I believe in the goddess as our Earth Mother. And I don't really believe her nature to be one that requires penance and such. So approaching guilt from a stand point where I have to ask her for foregiveness doesn't make any sense to me in light of what I believe.
I just don't know what to do with all this. I mean, how do you go about making up for something you did wrong when you can't make it up to the people you feel you wronged? And the people that you are pretty sure will be wronged because of what you failed to do?
If you are not a Christian, how do you deal with very strong feelings of guilt?
guilt is a feeling... it isn't just a fact. does that make sense? I mean I could do something wrong and feel guilty... or I could do something right and it not turn out great and still feel guilt. given that I don't know the circumstances I can't say exactly what I would do if i were you... but guilt sometimes is just the consequence of a wrong action. there isn't always a way to "relieve" yourself of the guilt outside becoming a better person from it. sometimes guilt is just the feeling of regret over a circumstance you actually had no control over. every situation is different and only you would know which hat fits you in this instance.
of course in certain cases apologizing, confessing, asking forgiveness of the one you hurt might be nessecary as well...
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It honestly took me about a year to not feel so guilty. I've helped others that have had to deal with the same situation I had. I was able to help because of what I went through.
Talking about it does help. If you can't talk about it, then you should at least realize that MOST people are carrying around something that they're not proud of. You'll never be alone in that way. Could you talk to your UU pastor? Maybe someone on the lay ministry?
Our children make a study of us in a way no one else ever will. If we don't act according to our values, they will know.~Starhawk New User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/articles/user-agreement
Since you believe in the Earth as your Mother, you could give Her your guilt. Just send it into her through a kind of grounding ritual - and ask for it to come back to you as strength. Or whatever you'd like to receive. I would also give something in return, something like special herbs from my garden or salt water or whatever seems good to you. You can think of it as a kind of exchange.
Wishing you peace.
unschooling, non-vaxing, writing, gardening, co-sleeping, critter-loving family :