Guilt: The Liberation of the Soul

"Run from what's comfortable. 

Forget safety. 

Live where you fear to live. 

Destroy your reputation. 

Be notorious."

- Rumi


If you disappoint someone, 

answer their question with an honest "No" 

(when they'd hoped for a "Yes"),

choose thing number two

(when they'd secretly wanted you 

to choose thing number one)

change your mind, become someone new, 

think differently today than you did yesterday...


If you clearly speak your truth, 

and get honest about your limits, 

your boundaries, your wants and needs,

and if you walk your own original path,

and generally don't live up to someone else's expectations 

or fulfill their desires...


This does not make you a "bad person". 

This does not make you "selfish".


Even if they get angry. 

Even if they CALL you a "bad person". 

Even if they rage and sulk and complain 

and try to manipulate you 

into changing your mind 

or changing yourself. 

Even if they compare you with others,

and invalidate your inner world.  


That is their work. Let them do their work today.

Stay close to yourself, my love.

Even if you feel guilt and fear now.

Stay close to yourself.

Even if you feel waves of self-doubt. 

Stay close to yourself. 


Let them feel their disappointment, their anger. 

Let them grieve their shattered hopes and dreams.

Let them touch into the hurt, abandoned, unappreciated places inside.


Give them plenty of room, if necessary.


Have compassion, yes, but stay close to yourself my love.

You are not a "bad person", even though you may feel bad.

You are not a "bad person", even if the mind tells you so.


Turn, now, to meet that "guilty-feeling child" inside.

They need your help now. Your love. Your presence. 

Your understanding.

Make room for them. Breathe into them. 

Do not abandon them now.


Guilt will not manipulate you 

when you learn to breathe into it. 


For what you own can no longer control you. 


It can be exciting and terrifying to say "No".

It can trigger difficult feelings in relationship. 

It takes courage to follow your own heart. 

To speak your bare naked truth 

(both kind and wild). 


To give up the exhausting game 

of displeasing yourself 

to temporarily please others.


Guilt is how the soul can feel

when first liberated from its chains.

It is a birth pang of freedom,

a misunderstood portal 

to the joy of truthful living.


~ Jeff Foster

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