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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?

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