Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Guilt

22 August 2015

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Life’s been good to me. It’s a great song by Joe Walsh from his 1978 “But Seriously, Folks” album (lyrics, video, wiki). I say that as I do not carry the burden of guilt. I have been soul searching for some time now but it seems that I’m free of that burden. Recently, two women confessed to me that they carry a lot of guilt. One of them asked me to write this blog.

I doubt that guilt has ever been the main topic of my blogs as I don’t relate to it. I tend to write about topics that are in my heart and soul. Guilt has definitely been a side topic in my blogs as it is the consequence of our actions – or the lack thereof.

Let me start with a major difference: guilt can either be genuine OR can be projected by others onto you and just feel genuine as its message has been repeated that often that we actually start believing it. In Dutch, we have an interesting saying: “de schuld hebben of de schuld krijgen”.

Unfortunately, the English translation of “schuld krijgen” isn’t really helpful (“blame”). A more relevant translation – in the context of this blog – would be: guilty (“schuld hebben”) and be held guilty (“schuld krijgen”).

One of the women I referred to above, feels guilty for what she did to me. She can’t forget what she did and has difficulty to live with that guilt. Unfortunately, I have no clue how this – guilt – feels. Hence, I can’t explain its magnitude in this blog. I told her that I have forgiven her. She knows but she can’t forgive herself. In my view, forgiving yourself is an element of accepting and loving yourself. And I do know how hard that is! I’m convinced that loving yourself / accepting yourself is the most difficult goal in life. Yet, happiness is the reward.

The other woman feels responsible for neglecting her children on crucial moments in their lives. In her absence, bad things happened. She assumes that her presence would have made a difference. In itself that assumption is true. However, it is only a timing difference. The bad things would have happened anyway but either earlier or later. Obviously, it doesn’t help that the perpetrator is (still) in deep denial. As always the perpetrator projects the guilt inside onto others. And the power of any message lies in repeating it. Disbelief ultimately becomes belief.

I was asked by one of these two women whether I feel guilt about my divorce or its consequences. My answer is no. None whatsoever. I have considered my divorce for 10 years. Some day I realised that this marriage was destroying me inside. Eating me alive. My divorce was a matter of self preservation as I was dying inside. The aftermath was long and hard (an understatement) but I survived and it was all worth it. I feel no guilt as there was no guilt.

To the woman who still feels guilty towards me, I can only repeat over and over again that I have forgiven her. She will never be able to forget what she did to me (and neither can – or will – I) and that fact should hopefully prevent repetition towards other men. Yet, I urge you to please forgive yourself by accepting and loving who you really are.

The other woman should realise that the perpetrator is (still) sick and that her absence or presence only resulted in a timing difference. The act itself could not be avoided. Projecting guilt towards others for this, is “sick” and is also resulting from this “sickness”.

Lucky I’m sane after all I’ve been through. I can’t complain but sometimes I still do. Life’s been good to me so far. Joe Walsh

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