Dear Yaw

How can I get past the guilt of my lost love?

Dear Yaw

When I first fall in love with this boy in my school it was a wonderful experience because he feels the same and at the time, I feel like I can conquer the world but the only thing that stand in my way of having sex is how negative I perceived the union. I was surrounded with shame that sex is bad and so suppressed it.

Over time he got tired of it and left. I was devastated even though he told how I’m hurting him, I did nothing to change but told him to wait until we get married. I blamed him for many things that had gone wrong in my life forgetting I was the selfish one.

I feel that I owe him an apology. How can I get past this guilt without contacting him?

-Amanda

Dear Amanda

You describe a situation that is very common and I would like to answer your question but also raise a related issue.

First, in relation to your guilt, the important thing for you to do is to focus on feeling it. So, instead of trying to ignore it, set aside some time so that you can sit down and really pay attention to how guilty you feel. You might need to do this several or even many times: it depends on how much guilt you need to feel. Sometimes, you will find that this feeling can be felt somewhere in your body, perhaps your stomach or chest but it might be anywhere, such as in your neck. The important thing, however, is to focus on the feeling of guilt and any other feelings that arise with it, including if you can feel this feeling or these feelings in your body.

I have described how to do this in more detail in the article ‘Putting Feelings First’.

If you are fortunate enough to have someone who will listen to you while you feel and talk about your guilt and the circumstances surrounding it, then that might be useful. They should listen as described in the article ‘Nisteling: The Art of Deep Listening’.

The reason that I encourage you to set aside time, regularly if necessary, to feel your guilt is that it is likely that your guilt actually predates your relationship with this boy you mention. As I read what you write, I get a strong sense of your feeling of guilt and it sounds like it might be too much guilt to just be associated with this boy. So I encourage you to feel the guilt for as long as it takes, partly so that you can flush out an original cause for the guilt if there happens to be one (perhaps related to one of your parents, for example, who may have guilt-tripped you routinely) and benefit from the new self-knowledge that you will acquire.

If you spend the time that this takes, including feeling any other feelings that arise with the guilt too, then you will eventually understand the original cause (or causes) of the guilt and it will vanish, leaving you free to move on without need to apologize to someone you haven’t seen for many years (and for whom any apology may have little meaning in any case).

The related issue on which I wanted to respond arises from your comments that the ‘only thing that stand in my way of having sex is how negative I perceived the union. I was surrounded with shame that sex is bad and so suppressed it’ and ‘I blamed him for many things that had gone wrong in my life forgetting I was the selfish one.’

I would, once again, like to gently encourage you to spend time feeling the feelings you mention here: your negative feeling toward ‘the union’, the ‘shame that sex is bad’ and that you are ‘the selfish one’.

Each of these feelings has an origin in your early life and could be usefully felt to understand how and why they originated so that they can vanish forever.

Similarly, it sounds like you learned to blame others either because an adult blamed you regularly or you copied an adult in your life who would regularly blame others. Do you feel blamed? If so, then once again, I encourage you to focus on feeling it.

Remember, even if you have several or even many feelings to feel now because they weren’t given adequate attention to be felt at the time, every moment that you invest in this will both free you of past suppressed feelings and give you increased insight into why you are who you are now.

And that is the most important journey you can ever make.

Yaw

 

 

Robert J Burrowes

Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes (Yaw) has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here.

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