Making big life decisions typically involves making sacrifices. When these sacrifices affect others, it can be difficult not to internalise guilt. It’s not necessarily as easy as “doing what makes you happy” when this affects the happiness of others and, in turn, when you account for the guilt, your own. I read something today that changed my perspective on this, though:
“For centuries you have been taught that love-sponsored action arises out of the choice to be, do, and have whatever produces the highest good for another.
Yet I tell you this: the highest choice is that which produces the highest good for you.
…And when the absolute highest choice is made, the mystery dissolves, the circle completes itself, and the highest good for you becomes the highest good for another.” – Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations With God: Book One
This makes sense to me because if we make decisions based entirely upon the wellbeing of others without considering ourselves, we are not in alignment. If we are not in alignment then we cannot approach others with sincerity and love. It also makes sense in the context of enabling. When we enable others, we facilitate patterns of behaviour that are potentially harmful. Enabling doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation but the point is that our motive to be of service to others doesn’t always result in maximum happiness for all.
To make this “highest choice”, though, is no mean feat. At least, not unless we’re willing to be present and “show up” for those moments in life when our soul communicates to us in an intuitive way. When we add being in love to the mix, we can end up with a brain something like a tangled web, being pulled in all directions and unable to see straight. This is what happened to me when I was reconsidering my life and what I wanted for my future. I’ve never felt so conflicted in my life, it was like two different people in my brain, constantly switching between opinions day in day out and feeling exhausted and upset throughout it all. Luckily, my boyfriend at the time actually helped steer me in the right direction, even though that direction was away from him, and I’m thankful he was was clearheaded enough to do that. Even though I know it was the right decision, the stress from the breakup is still affecting my life.
I’ve had a week of nervous, excitable energy resulting in a vast decrease in calorie consumption and also a lack of formal spiritual practice. I think it’s unresolved emotion from the breakup manifesting itself out of my subconscious. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I can feel and see my hip bones jutting out, my skinny jeans are now not so skinny on me and when I walked the two miles to work on Friday, my heart was hammering out of my chest and I had to bend over and catch my breath multiple times. Whenever I tried to eat something or even think about eating something, I felt sick and like my stomach was already full. There was a resolution to something in my life that I was waiting on and once I got it, my eating started to go back to normal and I’m eager to put the weight back on again now.
Because of all this, any spiritual practice I’ve engaged in has been very much on-the-spot and spontaneous. I’ve been trying to focus on and really feel the connection of my feet to the ground any time I’ve found myself getting nervous and wired. I’ve also been looking at trees and noticing their stillness and then I’ve been taking deep breaths whenever I remember.
Since I came back to Edinburgh two weeks ago, I’ve not been keeping up with my spiritual practice anywhere near as much as I’d intended. I’ve also been getting a terrible amount of sleep and I’m tired all the time. Initially, my excitement about my music compensated for the lack of sleep but I’m at a point now where it’s caught up with me and I’m so drained. I need to rejig my life. But I also need to forgive myself for living in this way for the past two weeks. Breakups aren’t easy. Major life changes aren’t easy. Moving on isn’t easy. I’ve been doing my best and I think I need to remember that.
I also need to forgive myself for the times when I’ve been feeling great, despite everything. Excited about my music, about meeting new people and being single in a city for the first time in my life. It’s understandable that I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about “doing well”, though, because doing well after a breakup isn’t the way you’re really supposed to feel and it’s not the most empathic approach, either.
“Guilt actually encourages people to have more empathy for others, to take corrective action, and to improve themselves. Self-forgiveness following guilt is self-essential to esteem, which is key to enjoying life and relationships. Yet, for many, self-acceptance remains elusive because of unhealthy guilt.” – Darlene Lancer, PsychCentral
A way in which I could express forgiveness towards myself is speaking kindly to myself, the same way I did when I was practicing self parenting. “You did your best, it’s okay” is a constructive phrase. Writing about the things I feel guilty about will be a good way to straighten things out in my mind, too. It’s important to me that I don’t let feelings of guilt morph into feelings of shame because it is something which truly debilitates me. It’s also been the source of my urges to self harm.
A few weeks ago, when everything was still up in the air, the idea of writing about self forgiveness for the choices I would ultimately make seemed terrifying. Now I’m actually writing about it, I feel peaceful. One of the things we can count on is that things change. Feelings change, people change, circumstances change. An obstacle might seem insurmountable in one moment and fully beatable the next. Some emotions are so strong that they rob you of any foresight and the idea of any sort of serenity or peace in the future might seem impossible. But we are much more resilient and adaptable than we give ourselves credit for. The sooner we realise this, the sooner we can tap into our personal power and make those “higher choices” that benefit us and, ultimately, everyone around us.
Thanks so much for reading!
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx