Learning to Love Yourself - Guilt Free

The topic of my last post was about the 'one lesson'—the only real lesson we have to learn—and that is to love yourself. "Love myself? Sure, I love myself!" "How hard can it be? I'm cool. I'm good. I love myself!"

It sounds really easy, doesn't it? It sounds easy until you look in the mirror and realize that the first thing you see staring back at you—glaring back at you—is what you don't like, what you continually criticize yourself for. It sounds easy until you remember the terrible things (so you think) that you've done in the past. It sounds easy until you catch yourself, yet again, doing things that you hate yourself for doing, 'being' ways that you rail against yourself for being. "Dammit! If I'd only ..." It's like a mantra for the new era "If I'd only ..." Guilt and regret; regret and guilt. Those two feelings often make up the better portion of a human life, or at least an adult life. And to what end?

If I were to say, as I have said to many recently, that guilt is a useless emotion—worse than useless, actually harmful—what would your reaction be? I can tell you what pretty much the universal reaction has been when I've said that: people look at me like I've lost my mind. "What?! How can we not have guilt?" they say. "Without guilt we'd be in total anarchy!" they say.

And yet I ask you, "How can you love yourself when you see what you are as guilty?" That's a judgement. That's you saying you did something wrong. That's you saying you're flawed and those flaws need fixing. That's you saying you're not good enough, not true enough, not spiritual enough, not evolved enough.

Spirit doesn't think that way about you, it really truly doesn't. Spirit loves you always and all ways, under all circumstances. Spirit knows that you have experiences, that you are in fact an experience-making machine, and Spirit honors all experience. Spirit knows that experience is what drives evolution. Spirit wants to share in your experiences.

Spirit doesn't judge. It doesn't care what label you put on experiences, because Spirit doesn't judge your experiences or you. It truly doesn't! Spirit honors you always; thanks you always; loves you always, and under all circumstances. Spirit knows who you are. Spirit knows that You Are God Also, and that there is no such thing as right and wrong. No such thing as good and bad. So to Spirit, guilt is a 'no thing.'

Can you feel the same way about you that Spirit does? Can you? You must, because you are Spirit, you just don't remember that you are. And therein lies the difficulty.

Guilt Is Incompatible With Love

It doesn't forward your desire to love yourself when you think that you have done something wrong, done something bad, or perhaps done things you consider unforgivable, things you feel guilty for. As Abraham likes to say, the reason you feel so bad when you feel guilty is that it separates you from You. It feels bad to feel guilty, and that alone ought to tell you that guilt doesn't work the way you think it does.

If you think that guilt is stopping you from what you consider to be 'misbehaving', then you need to spend more time looking at how often you feel guilty about something and do it anyway. Then look at how often you feel even more guilty after having done that thing, and because you feel so bad you go do it some more. Which adds to your guilt. It's an endless cycle. It's "the Never Ending Story." Where in that cycle is the "out" point? Not in more guilt, that's for sure!

Guilt doesn't work the way you think it does. It doesn't. It just doesn't. There's only one thing that guilt is useful for, and that is for its ability to point out to you ways of being that you might choose not to continue with. It's a before-the-fact kind of tool, and truly, if you want to learn how to really love yourself, it's a tool you ought to just chuck right out of your personal toolbox.

But guilt is sticky. Even if you want to toss it out of your toolbox it will likely jump right back in when you aren't looking. But you can outsmart guilt. You can learn how to put it in its place, how to keep it from running the show.

Try looking at guilt a different way. Look at it as your own little alarm system—like the one on your watch or phone that alerts you when you need to be somewhere or do something. Look at guilt as your own little self-actuated alert mechanism.

When you feel the feelings of guilt, or hear the nagging voice of guilt, all that's happened is that your little alert mechanism went off. You can either turn off the alert, or you can use the awareness that it gives you to take a conscious look at what you're choosing. Guilt is alerting you to a choice that you made that you might like to reconsider. "Hey, hey you! You might want to reconsider that choice." That's all it's doing. That's all the control that it has. Don't give it more.

When the guilt-alert goes off, if you've become aware of it, you have essentially stopped time. You are now aware of what you're choosing, and you can now choose something different. Or you can choose to stay with your initial choice. Either of these is your choice to make.

What should you choose? That's easy ... Whatever will feel the best to you after you choose it. Weigh both choices: Which feels better?

If you choose something different, especially if the new choice makes you feel proud of yourself for interrupting a habitual way of being, savor that good feeling. Congratulate yourself for your choice! Love yourself for that choice! Enjoy that choice. Savor that choice.

If you choose something different because you don't want to feel guilty .. well .. you might want to look at why you are giving so much of your power away to guilt. You don't have to choose differently just because your first choice has triggered the guilt-alarm. I know you might be getting antsy about that comment, especially if you are socially tuned to be driven by guilt, but stay with me here, this is the tricky part about dealing with guilt.

If you choose to stay with your initial choice, the thing that caused the guilt-alert to sound in the first place ("I really want that! ... even if it makes me feel guilty!"), what are you going to do? You have to know that the guilt-alert is going to continue to sound if you stay with that first choice. It is, after all, the choice that triggered the guilt in the first place.

There's no getting around it, if you consciously choose to stay with your first choice, the guilt-producing one, you're going to have to have a showdown with guilt. But that's a good thing! You're simply going to have to tell guilt where to get off, because this is your choice and you're choosing it. This is your free will at work, this is your choice. The solution might be as easy as just imagining pressing the 'off' button on the guilt-alert. Or it might take a bit more effort, like reminding yourself that you don't need the guilt-alert since you are freely choosing. Thank guilt for sharing and then turn it off.

What I often do, when my guilt-alert goes off, is remind myself that I have a right to enjoy my life, and enjoying my life includes choosing things that others might consider unworthy of choice. Things others might even consider 'wrong.' Then I remind myself that other people aren't living my life, I'm living my life. Which means my choices are mine to make. Even if I want to eat a whole box of cookies at one sitting. Even if I want to yell at whatever there is to yell at or about. Even if I want to play video games all day.

It's all my choice. If I choose a thing, and do it, then I might as well enjoy the hell out of it, whatever it is. Because when I'm enjoying whatever I'm up to, truly loving and enjoying it and not feeling guilty about it, Spirit is enjoying my enjoyment. Yes, even boxes of cookies. Even round after round of video games. Even yelling. When I really get into yelling, really choose it, it starts being funny. I mean, seriously funny!

The alternative is doing the guilt-producing thing and continuing to feel guilty, carrying the guilt around and not enjoying what I'm doing, or stuffing the guilt and letting it fester inside me. None of those are alternatives worth taking. There is one other alternative, and that is giving in to the guilt, doing something else and then feeling deprived. Spirit won't participate with me in either guilt or deprivation, so why would I choose those?

Letting go of guilt and/or learning to use guilt as a tool might take some practice. With some choices it will be fairly easy to turn off the guilt-alert, with others it may be quite difficult. It all depends on how deeply married to guilt you are in any particular circumstance.

There are things I'm still working on, but it's getting easier and easier. And believe it or not, by allowing myself to make choices that feel good, no matter how guilty society would like to make feel me for choosing them, I've finally—after 50 years of struggle—found many things that I've struggled with falling out of my life. Easily. Effortlessly.

It's as if when I finally allowed myself to love what I love—guilt free—eventually I got my fill. It's as if all I ever wanted was to just be ok with my choices, to honor my choices no matter what they were, and once I did, I didn't feel driven to make those particular choices anymore.

Did it happen overnight? Not at all. But it did happen. I loosened the hold of guilt in a lot of areas, and eventually it stopped hounding me in those areas. And once it stopped hounding me, I no longer felt drawn to what guilt had been trying to keep me from. It's a paradox, and one that each of us has to explore for ourselves.

The whole point is to love whatever you are choosing. Enjoy what you are choosing; savor it, love it. Because when you are loving your choices, no matter what they are, no matter what society is saying about them (or about you), in loving your choices you are loving yourself. Loving yourself feels better than anything else that you can do. And that ought to tell you that loving yourself is the most important thing that you can do.

A Lesson From Atlantis

Following is a little story that might help you see how guilt isn't the answer to learning to love yourself.

If you know the history of Atlantis, you'll know that humanity made some—what we would consider to be—really poor choices. Choices that ended up destroying not only a civilization, but a good deal of land mass as well. Continents even. These were choices that could have, in fact, destroyed the entire planet. On a scale of disastrously poor choices, the ones made in Atlantis were right up there at the pinnacle. And yet ... Spirit has a completely different take on those events. Spirit sees all experience as choice, and all choices are honored. All choices can be learned from. That's what forwards evolution.

This excerpt comes from Salem the Great Light, channeled by Diandra, in a piece about Atlantis. In this response to an audience question, Salem starts out speaking about humans who carry the guilt of Atlantis.
Don't judge yourselves. Don't say 'wow, we really blew that.' No you didn't. No. That was an experience that added to God. It was an experience that added to the dimension of your soul. So as you begin to become more aware of things, look at the vastness of the possibilities of who you are. Don't get caught in blame or guilt. Don't feel like ‘I could have done it better.’

What is ‘better’? Is that a society standard? Who is society? And is that society as you know it in 1998 [or 2009] or society as you knew it in 1998 BC? Don't do that to yourselves. The more you begin to awaken your consciousness, the more possibilities you have of who you are, the more you expand in your awareness. You have more choices.

But if you get meshed down in guilt and blame... there are souls that become so overwhelmed by their perception of failure—whatever that may be on their part—that the heaviness of that vibration, they'll either create something to take them off of this planet in the form of a disease or an accident because they feel like "I just can't do this, I have done it so badly."

And we want to say to all of those souls: no, you didn't. No, you didn't. You just chose an experience. That same experience .. maybe ten thousand years ago it would have been the epitome of the greatness of who you are.

So don't beat yourselves up. That's the important message we want to give. Honor. Honor all that you are. Honor anything that you've been in the past and anything you'll be in the future. See that greatness of who you are. There is no other soul like you. And that in itself is the miracle of creation.
Compared to those choices (the ones leading to the destruction of Atlantis), which are honored by Spirit, what could you, in your current lifetime, possibly do or have done that even comes close? Compared to what has already been accepted, honored, and loved, and where guilt about the choices is a 'no thing', what can you possibly feel guilty for?

Decide, once and for all, to put guilt in its place. Live the life that you choose to live. Don't allow guilt to be the deciding factor in what you do or do not do, in what you choose or do not choose. Honor yourself for who you have been, who you are, and who you are becoming. Accept yourself. Honor yourself. Love yourself. You are the perfect expression of God experiencing Itself as you. Even when eating a whole box of cookies.

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