To continue our discussion on Don Miguel Ruiz’s novel, The Four Agreements I would like to address the importance of letting go of our guilt. Throughout the journey of infertility it is easy to blame yourself for all of the negative events you experience, ‘if I hadn’t done this, the test would be positive’, ‘I should have never taken this for granted, that is why I am having such a difficult time now’…etc… During a time when you should be caring for yourself the most, you become your own worst enemy. This is because we harbor guilt and regret for the mistakes we have made.
“How many times do we pay for one mistake? The answer is thousands of times. The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake…We have a powerful memory. We make a mistake, we judge ourselves, we find ourselves guilty, and we punish ourselves…but every time we remember, we judge ourselves again, we are guilty again, and we punish ourselves again, and again, and again.” – The Four Agreements
How could we possibly move on when we constantly pull ourselves back to the past? This happens in all of us, regardless of whether we are enduring infertility or not. We have moments that have caused us shame and regret, that play over and over in our minds. This can cause anxiety, fear, depression, and anger. It can also physically manifest in tension headaches, ulcers, and increased heart rate.
In order to free ourselves from this debilitating cycle we must create new habits. When we make a mistake or regret something, instead of harboring ill feelings and hurt, try the following process instead:
1. Analyze the situation and determine whether this is a rational event that you committed on purpose, or if there was a moment when you made a conscious decision to move in this direction. Is it rational to feel guilt in this situation? Was this something that happened completely out of your hands? If you are not feeling irrational guilt, then continue.
2. Take ownership of, and acknowledge the situation you have created. Was it a mistake, or did you intentionally hurt someone? Recognize the repercussions of the event.
3. Apologize to either yourself or the other person for what pain you have caused.
4. Allow yourself to feel the relief that comes from the apology.
5. Tell yourself, ‘OK, it is over” and move on. Do not replay the situation or use ‘what if’ statements.
6. It is normal for you to remember what happened and to feel temporary anxiety. However, this is the important stage of letting go. Remember the ownership of your mistake and the apology. Remember the feeling of relief when you acknowledged what happened, and you said ‘I’m sorry.’ Finally, remember when you told yourself ‘OK, it is over’.
It may take a few times to cycle through the memory of the event, but each time you remind yourself that you adequately apologized and ‘paid’ for the event, your feelings of guilt and anxiety will diminish.
You have to be your best friend, and your own advocate. You have to let go of your guilt.
We will be covering The Four Agreements this week in our Circle of Hope Support Groups. Please visit www.cnyhealingarts.com for meeting times and locations.
*Please note that Syracuse will meet tonight and Albany and Rochester will meet tomorrow. So don’t wait too long to check that calendar!
Also, I will continue addressing this theme in a (free!) workshop Saturday August 15, 2009 at 11:30am in the Syracuse Healing Arts Yoga Studio. We will be working on different tools to ‘let go’ of our guilt, anxiety, and fear. We will also do some light stretching and relaxation. A beautiful end to the week! Check the CNY Healing Arts link above for more information.
I hope to see you at these great, supportive events!