So what have I been doing since? (Stick with me here, it's relevant to the topic.) Moving. And moving again. And probably more moving, but I'll start to digress. So after the last move, and all I had learned over the years, I decided to go completely Zen. I'm now a Reiki Master and ThetaHealer. (Gasp. Yes, it's okay. Get it out.) And how does this relate to guilt? Because I figured out how to reeeeeally let it go! In clearing the mind of "OH my gosh, I am SO rotten to my kids sometimes!" you make room to LEARN from what happened to make you feel that way, and focus on how to change future similar outcomes. There's also the part where my kids have grown up and I now have a house full of teenagers who often come to me with their own guilt or anxiety issues (thank you school, social media, and whatever the hell else) and HA! I can now help!! I mean, actually. Help.
Looking back on parenting toddlers: #1 Was I the best parent? Please. No. #2 Did I actually cause some of the guilt to spill over on to my kids? As in, did I model and teach them what it looks like to feel guilty all the time, and did I send that energy to them to absorb into their little cells? Oooh, yes I did.
What I LEARNED from that, how I overcame it, I can now also pass on to them. And they don't have to wait until they're nearly 50 (cough, cough) to figure it out. The best we can do is step back, look at life's messages, really hear what we are guided to do and learn, and make it so. Grab it. Run with it. Thank the Universe. Yes, thank the Universe for reminding you what you need to work on!
So...let's consult an example.
What do you feel guilty about, and why? As a ThetaHealer, we can dig on that baby for a looong time and figure out and release some serious belief patterns, but if that's too out-there for you, just roll with the second question a bit: "Why?" Why do you feel guilty?
Well, I feel guilty because I spanked my kid.
Why does that make me feel guilty? Because it's wrong!
Because why? Because my own parents spanked me and I always felt like I was a horrible kid. Because why? Because I was. They told me so. I didn't act the way they wanted me to act.
Stop right there. "Because I was. They told me so."
Soooo...if you spank your own kid, you are sending the same message that you got from your own parents? I gotcha. Yep. That's no good. Don't want that.
But where to go from there? Release that, friend. Release that message you got from your parents. A whole bundle of goodness comes from doing so. When you are ready to release that, your body lets it go (yes, it stays in cells and organs, eventually making us sick), your mind lets it go, you figure out you need to love and forgive yourself, and when you get to THAT place, it releases the impatience, guilt, and anger at whatever it is your toddler did to trigger you in the first place, and since love flows freely in and out of you, you can now tap in to a different energy to address the behavior of your toddler in a loving way.
If you are still reading, I guess we've hit something that resonates. Most likely, the guilt is there in you before you even have the spanking incident with your child. It just triggers an overwhelming sense of "wrong" in you. Does this mean you need to fly past the spanking, give yourself a total pass, toss some pudding at the kiddo to mend the mental boo-boo, and get over it? Of course not. What it DOES mean is that a) there is more going on here than is completely obvious and b) when you learn to forgive yourself (and possibly clear resentment, etc.), you can clear your mind to change, and never do the spanking bit again. What would that be like? What if next time, you could recognize when you're getting triggered, stop and take a breath, utilize some strategies to calm down, and THERE IS NO SPANKING? What if instead, you are able to see the situation for what it is, remember your child for who they are and what THEY are also trying to learn in life, and approach the entire situation differently, with love, grace, and integrity?
Yeah, baby. Now we're on to something. Use each situation that makes you feel guilty to LEARN. The Universe, laws of attraction, God, Jesus, Source, energy - however you wish to see it - will tap you on the shoulder, then shove, then totally push you to the ground if you don't listen to the message, "This is what you need to work on. Here's an opportunity! Yea!"
In my Zen journey, I've come across a couple of life-changers:
If you haven't heard of Complex PTSD, start reading. When I showed up to my first training session to be a Reiki practitioner, my teacher told me I had this. I said, "No I don't." She said, "Yes, you do." Me: "No. I don't!" Her: "Yes. You do." We went back and forth for a solid minute on that until I said, "Fine! I'll get the darn book!" Two weeks later, my life was COMPLETELY changing. And now, with most clients that walk through my door, I recognize this immediately. It's absolutely pervasive. Keep an open mind about it and ... just read. You might start seeing 'guilt' in a whole new way. And it also might lead you to a chisel so you can start carving it out of your life to serve you and your child in the highest and best way.
2) Matt Kahn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS9V_A_0eQk
If you are completely, totally, absolutely unfamiliar and averse to any new age-y, froo-froo, Zen-ish, send-and-receive-unconditional-love kind of stuff, this guy might be a bit much for you. But, if you embrace anything about that, this video is amazing. "Everything is Here to Help You." When you get to the point of seeing the world through different glasses, this is an incredible message. Your guilt is here to help you. The situation that created the guilt is here to help you. When you accept that for what it is, accept the "help" and start moving forward...tree-falling-in-the-woods and exploding rainbows kind of crazy goodness and energy changes are coming. Mmmmmhmmmm.
Warm wishes, friend. I'm off to eat my steel-cut oats with red quinoa and slivered almonds. In lotus position. While meditating. ;p