30 Days of Truth - Day 22

Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

I wish I'd never done things that hurt other people.

I wish I'd never done things that hurt me either.

I wish I hadn't spent so many years opting out of life generally.

That about covers it.

The thing is that I have spent quite a long time thinking and writing about the vast array of things I've done that I regret. They are many, and the hurt I've caused is my biggest regret of all. In saying that I realise that the regret I have is not focused so much on the actions themselves but the harmful outcomes of those actions.

I wonder if that is wrong? To repent the outcome of sin rather than the sin itself? Absolutely I acknowledge the wrongdoing in my actions. But a part of me sees these mistakes as part of a whole rather than in isolation. Perhaps this is just a "let out clause" though. A way of not shouldering my responsibilities.

Mostly when I think about this its something along the lines of ... "how could I have been so stupid and how could I not have foreseen the consequences of my stupidity?" This learning to forgive yourself bizzo is bloody hard.

It is what it is ... so given that what to do?

But what of the actions themselves?

I guess at the end of the day it should be like this. There are things that I've done that were patently wrong ... ethically, morally ... whatever you want to call it. To feel regret and/or sorrow is one thing, but I think perhaps to feel contrition is better. Contrition drives the desire to change for the better.

I wonder if contrition is really a healthy background for living a life though. Permanently I mean, rather than a phase to go through on the way towards a life that is fuller ... freer. I don't know but it seems kind of ... joyless. At the crux of this I don't feel deserving of joy. Too sinful perhaps. I see that.

How do you shed guilt whilst retaining personal responsibility for actions done and their consequences?


  1. this is a fascinating post. i am not a great believer in guilt. i reckon if we have thought through what we are going to do and decided it is ok then we should live with whatever flows from it. it is the stuff we do without thinking (either because we act on the spur of the moment or because our faculties are blunted by whatever our poison is) that is most likely to get us into trouble. then we should take responsibility for not thinking it through.

    most of the stuff i have done that i regret was due to being drunk so i am hoping now i don't drink that i can steer a slightly less tricky course. and if we do our best to be decent folks and it goes wrong then we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. we can only do our best.

  2. I agree, this is a fascinating post.

    Contrition seems positive to me, sorrow for and detestation of sin with a true purpose of amendment. It intones a desire to learn. Isn't that what life is about?

    I live with a great deal of guilt. I try my best to not let it freeze me in place, but instead spur me on to more growth. I don't necessarily want to shed it, but instead use it. I believe empathy can grow from guilt as well and for me, it is humbling to see that none of us is perfect, and that from this place of responsibility and consequence, I can see that none of us is immune to making large and far reaching decisions. All of this makes me a little quieter, perhaps, and a little less jumpy in my decision making now. It lends itself to prompting me to be a little more reflective. I can't allow myself to hold it as a weight.

    I enjoy your questions.


  3. I think that guilt is a necessary phase we must go through. We cannot progress, or make ammends until we realize we have done something wrong. With that realization comes guilt. With guilt, comes the knowledge of how we have wronged ourselves and others, and the knowledge of how to keep that from happening in the future. If we go a little deeper, we will discover that the reason we did those things for which we feel guilt, is because we lacked any true knowledge about ourselves, our worth, our position in the world, and the value of others, and we lacked true knowledge of cause and effect, consequences, and the way things actually work in life. We simply did not know the rules of how to live successfully and be happy. We were not taught. So forgive yourself. Embrace a power greater than yourself that can teach you what you have not known. And forge a head with new and better information, every day. Evolve. Much love

  4. Guilt serves a purpose, you do something that comes back not feeling so good, it is a signal
    not to do that again, but hanging on to guilt and beating yourself up over something in the past, serves no purpose what so ever. Love you.

  5. jos, i am reluctant to personalize my response but this is the best i can say: i love(d) someone who i hurt, i hurt myself, i hurt my family. i don't think i'll ever be who i was before then.

    and yet i don't feel guilt. i never did. it would be easy to say my actions were selfish, thoughtless, and i couldn't disagree. but in some ways it was like breathing. it felt essential, honest, right. and although i don't know how i will be changed, over time, i do not want to let guilt or shame or blame color what was many things, but never that.

    does this make sense to you? repentance, contrition: i don't dwell there, really. i feel sadness, regret with how things turned out. but i want to bless it all, everyone involved. i want that to be my pennance

    what a thoughtprovoking post.

    and i'm now officially smitten with woman in a window

    love to you always jos ♥