I am tired of feeling guilty at the drop of a hat! I’m discovering that under the guilt is fear – I’m afraid I’ve done something wrong, afraid that I’ll be rejected, afraid that those I care about will decide I’m not who they thought I was and not worth bothering with. I realize I’m not alone in this. Friends tell me they often experience the same fear.
It could go back to Garden of Eden stuff – raised on the story of being thrown out because of a mistake. It could go back to early childhood and not initially receiving maternal love. In my case I was born with a defect that my mother initially couldn’t deal with. I read Greek myths in which babies with a similar defect were left on hillsides to die. When I was a teen my parents put to death a small kitten born with the same defect. Life feels very tentative to me – that I have to win my right to exist over and over.
Still. So what? I find that almost everyone I share this with has their own version of guilt and fears. Years of therapy have thankfully helped me understand, but understanding hasn’t made it go away. Years of spiritual practice has brought moments of realizing that I am a valued though tiny part of the Universe. That helps with perspective, but still doesn’t dissolve the fears. At least I now realize that behind my competitiveness and judgmental tendencies is my fear is that I’m lost if I’m not best or constantly useful or superlative at whatever value is going around. Most of the time I can catch myself from acting out. So the years haven’t been wasted. But I yearn for more.
One of my favorite books says “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today”. I believe it! But I am not yet at the point of accepting myself as I am, a mere human still subject to useless fear and reactionary guilt.