How To Stop Feeling Guilty And Set Yourself Free

For most of my life I accepted toxic and co-dependent relationships with my family and friends because I thought it was “normal.” I really tried so hard to fit in and be the person that others expected of me.

But leading up to my 40th birthday I could no longer pretend that the life I was living didn’t make me happy and fulfilled. Though on the outside it appeared that I had everything—a condo, a permanent job with benefits and lots of friends.

I felt like something was missing!

When I ended a turbulent relationship that mirrored my parents relationship, I finally understood my therapist’s advice that it was not them hurting me, but it was me hurting myself by continuously subjecting myself to toxic people-places-things.

Saying no to not good enough

With the support and guidance of my therapist and reading Melody Beattie’s book Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself I found the strength and courage to sever all ties with my family.

For the first time I put myself before others—I wasn’t saving, rescuing, caretaking, acting like a victim, whining, complaining, blaming or sacrificing my needs-wants-desires.

Though I felt empowered, many times my EGO would torture me to the point I second-guessed my decision and felt guilty.

As much as I intellectually knew that I couldn’t return to a life filled with drama, I felt alone and abandoned and wished for things to be different.

Suddenly my entire world started to crumble before my eyes. That one decision created a domino effect in other areas of my life. I resigned from my job and I ended long-standing friendships.

To heal you must feel

Without anyone or anything to distract me from facing myself, I shined light on my pain. I let go of the story with the shoulda been’s, coulda beens and wrote letters to my family and others who wronged me. Then I went to a wooded area, read them out loud and burned them.

Miraculously my anxiety and bipolar depression dissolved, I stopped binge eating and I no longer have cravings. Other physical aliments—irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Fibromyalgia also dissolved.

Not a one time quick fix

I wrote countless letters to my family and others to release all the pain buried within me and I forgave them over and over again. Most importantly I forgave myself too!

In 5 years I went from self-destruction to self-love, I feel healed, whole and at peace. But when my mother recently called to let me know that my father passed away, the guilt of being estranged from him resurfaced.

Instead of allowing my guilt to immobilize me I wrote a letter to my father expressing how I felt. I also apologized to him, I thanked him for the lessons I learned and I forgave him. Then I did a visualization with my dad using the Hawaiian forgiveness prayer Ho'oponopono.

Once my dad accepted my apology, he then apologized to me. We held each other; he patted my back and kept saying, “don’t worry.” As I cried uncontrollably and heard his soothing words I felt a release.

I then placed one hand over my heart centre and another hand on my solar plexus and invited Archangel Michael (the angel of protection) to cut the cords between my dad and I. When I opened my eyes I was calm because I received the gift of closure.

For every ending there is a new beginning

Being around my mother and brother to make funeral arrangements etc., initially I felt anxious. All that I learned—to set healthy boundaries, not react to their comments and be true to myself was tested.

But to my amazement after a few days, the relationships transformed—I allowed myself to give and receive love.

Managing triggers

Instead of giving my power away when I felt triggered I used the notes app in my smartphone and expressed my feelings. Prior to deleting it, I would say a prayer, “I release this, I am no longer angry, love will heal this.”

Making self-care a priority

No matter how busy or exhausted I was, I still made time to meditate twice daily for 5 minutes, journal my thoughts-feelings for 5 minutes, take naps and sea salt baths to relax my aching muscles.

I also reached out to friends and a grief counsellor to support me through the grieving process.

Lessons learned

  • We always have a choice, either to react from the past or be an active participant in the present.
  • When we love and accept ourselves unconditionally, we can give and receive love.

I want to hear from you!

Do you have unfinished business with a loved one in spirit? If so, do you think it’s too late to release unresolved feelings, issues etc.?