Day 8 – Guilting your way out of love

I figured I would just go ahead and finish out my thoughts on love and move on from there…I don’t promise not to go back to it, but the other posts will probably be a little lighter than these 🙂

One of the things that I have realized with my son is the problem with guilt and regret. I used to believe that regret was an okay, or possibly even an important part of life. So I began to have issues with regretting what I had done that night. I never regretted Jack, but I certainly regret the way he had to come into this world. I hadn’t provided a perfect home-life. I had given him a father-less existence. I had acted upon frustration, immaturity and impatience, not love. I felt like I had very little to offer to him other than guilt and regret.

My guilt was tremendous and drenched in unforgiveness. I couldn’t forgive myself for doing what I knew not to do. I couldn’t forgive his father for choosing to leave. He did attempt to try, sort of, for a little while, but he ultimately chose to leave. In my mind had he chosen to try it would have made things better. It would have made my choices better. It would help make up for the choice we made that night. We could undo the wrong by choosing to do right.

But the problem is we cannot undo wrongs. We cannot change any of the things we have done with our lives. We cannot change the thoughts we had in the past. We cannot change the actions we took in the past. We cannot change the good. We cannot change the bad. The control over the past is existent only in our past. It does not exist today.

This realization left me with quite a problem. I didn’t know how to move forward, because I was holding on to what I had done wrong. I felt guilt and sadness. And even as I was realizing this in my life, I had to let go of that regret. Yes, it was wrong. I chose to put my need to find temporary relief from one overwhelming relationship by frantically diving into another ahead of anything else. Instead of standing strong and putting my son’s future being into consideration, my actions resulted in him being born to a broke, single-parent who didn’t really know how to make things right.

The night he was born I spoke more to the boy who I was trying to get away from, than I did to my child’s biological father. His father never said a word, even though he was informed of what was happening. I was bringing a child into chaos in my personal life. I loved a boy, who in all honesty I believed should and one day would be my son’s father. And even though I did everything I could to try to help my son’s biological father, I came up empty. He shut down. He was terrified. And all I really had to offer was a relationship with his son. But I was still figuring out who I was, and whether or not I was capable of loving my son, and what that even meant. I couldn’t really help my son’s father anyway.

I thought if I was sad then I wasn’t really loving Jack like a mother should, because with unconditional love there is no sadness. There is no fear. There is only trust. There is no worry. There is only love. But I was scared and worried for him all the time. I was sad that he didn’t have the life he deserved. I was sad that I couldn’t offer it to him. And as time has moved on, I do find that I still feel sad sometimes about the things I cannot give to him.

But I did find that I cannot regret what I have done forever. I can know it was the wrong choice. I can learn from it and choose to do things differently. I can choose not to live in fear and not to give in for temporary happiness.

If I want what is real and what is right then I must do things that coincide with that. I must be real in my interactions. I must make the right choices. I have to be the person that I want to be if I am ever going to look back and see what I want to see. So when it came to figuring out how to let go of the guilt and the worry and the sadness, it turned out that my issue was not truly regret, so much as it was forgiveness.

I could not forgive myself for what I had done. I could not forgive myself for the choices I made that night, or many other nights for that matter. I could not let go of who I was in that moment long enough to see who I needed to be right now. The shame that I felt in letting my son down was so intense. The fear had covered me whole, and finding how to love again was incredibly difficult.

I looked over my actions with my son. I wasn’t being a bad mother. I was completely devoted. There must be some love in there, right? I do everything I know to do for him. I care for him the best way I know to. I teach him the things I know how to teach him. I play, I laugh, and I sing and dance with him. I feel joy when I just think about him. Surely there must be love there, right?

It’s funny how easily we are willing to choose to feel guilty, instead of letting go and feeling the good things that life has to offer, especially love. I was told by a lady once in a class that guilt was a useless emotion. Each day I am more and more certain she was correct. Any thoughts?

About laurenc129

I'm a mom. Sometimes my hands turn orange. Other times I write. On twitter: @laurenc129

Posted on May 8, 2012, in 31 days of May, babies and bugs, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Guilt and regret are a part of how we evolve and grow. I have always believed that is what we learn from the past and the mistakes we avoid repeating that makes us better person. Your writing is an awesome snapshot of how you are expressing your growth and your ability to share and express yourself in words only helps you realize the most important things in your life. Good luck and keep writing!

  2. You gave him the best gift of all…life. Guilt is useful when a person learns something then it is time to throw it away. Wishing the best for you…all possible.

  3. I used to say I didn’t have any regrets (yet I felt guilt over some things) and then I heard someone say “a man with no regrets has a short memory.”

    That got me thinking… now I have regrets LOL I think it’s okay to have some regrets but the important thing is to recognise those past actions as opportunities for the future. I’ve done a lot of introspective examination since the start of my divorce – what I did, what I didn’t do, what I wanted, what I needed, what I received, and most importantly, my hopes, dreams and desires for the future.

    I’m in the process of redefining myself and my life. If you build a house and it burns down, you rebuild it, better and stronger than it was before.

    I know where I’m going now. I don’t know who my travelling companions will be, but I know I’ve met and re-met some already. I’m looking forward to the journey but I know I have some important lessons to learn too.

    I’m aware of one already, and I’m doing my best to learn it – that of absolution – not from others, but from myself.

    Best wishes and clear skies 🙂

    • I do actually think it’s okay to have regrets. I think it’s important to realize we have missed opportunities or made choices that we don’t want to make the next time around. As long as we don’t get stuck in it through guilt or fear. I just said to Diane, as she brought up forgiveness, it really is key! We have to let ourselves be, and it can be the hardest thing to do sometimes! It’s good that you’ve started the process! 🙂

  4. First I would say that the lady was absolutely correct..I was once told the same thing by my minister at that time…guilt does not change or accomplish anything except to make you feel bad.. We all make bad choices and do things that we wish we hadn’t done…and we even get angry at ourselves…I did….when I was young and knew better but for various reasons and feelings did so anyway. I didn’t have a child without being married but it could have happened. As it turned our we married and had a baby within the marriage but it could have turned out differently.

    So you made a bad choice..but you have your lovely little boy..something good came of your bad choice..

    I don’t know of your spiritual beliefs and I don’t need to. For me forgiveness took a while ..actually for several bad choices I made during my life….but at one time someone said to me if God forgives you then what right do you have not to forgive yourself. It made me think.

    So..no we can’t change the past …only learn from it and accept our human frailties and learn to love ourselves, forgive ourselves and go forward.

    I might mention that I grew up fatherless, but my mother gave me so much love I never doubted that I WAS loved, and I never blamed her, just as your son will understand why he doesn’t have a Mommy and Daddy that live in the same home…but he will know that he is most definitely loved! ..Diane

    • I appreciate that! I think guilt really does do very little other than keep us where we are and prevent us from letting go and moving forward. Forgiveness is key in just about everything. And forgiving ourselves is usually one of the hardest things to do. Thanks for your kind words. I hope he does know he is loved. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Part 2 of forgiveness continued from yesterday « betweenfearandlove

  2. Pingback: Do Men Deserve Credit for Being a Good Husband and Father? « Mindful Consideration

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