dealing with guilt from a non-christian perspective - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 5 Old 07-14-2010, 11:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
shanniesue2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: walking my path
Posts: 1,543
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Short background before getting to my question: Was raised Catholic. Left the church about 10 years ago. Spent 6-7 years in the Episcopal Church. Am now a member of a UU church... I have some pagan/earth based leanings to my spirituality... but am still very much on a spiritual journey...definitely don't have everything (or even most things) figured out

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?

mommy to Christopher 2/29/08
shanniesue2 is offline  
#2 of 5 Old 07-15-2010, 03:12 PM
 
TzippityDoulah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: DC area
Posts: 3,731
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
it seems to me the very most basic thing would be to learn from your mistake and let it not lead you down the wrong path in the future. that would bring honor to you, the people involved... and the person(s) you hurt in the past.

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...

transtichel.gifMom of three - (2.5 yrs, 7yrs, and 11yrs). Birthing Doula, editor, and wife to my soulmate. I've had a c/s, hospital VBAC, UC and not yet decided what I'll do about this next little one

TzippityDoulah is offline  
#3 of 5 Old 07-16-2010, 06:42 PM
 
chaoticzenmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,230
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In my situation where I had similar feelings to what you described, I decided to be grateful for the new perspective.

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 Rainbow.gif  New  User Agreement! http://www.mothering.com/community/wiki/user-agreement

chaoticzenmom is offline  
#4 of 5 Old 07-16-2010, 06:45 PM
 
zinemama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: from the fire roads to the interstate
Posts: 6,588
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree that the best thing you can do is be conscious of what you did wrong (you're there already) and vow not to do it again in the future. Beyond that (and those are pretty major things, I think), you just live with it.
zinemama is offline  
#5 of 5 Old 07-22-2010, 11:51 AM
 
Skim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: balmy wisconsin
Posts: 1,631
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with the other posters about trying to feel thankful for your new perspective. But I would also suggest an additional strategy.

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.

rural mama to DD1 DD2
unschooling, non-vaxing, writing, gardening, co-sleeping, critter-loving family :
Skim is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off