Spiritual Sisters

Spiritual Healing Serene Salad

Spiritual Voices Creativity Bakery

Spiritual Inspiration TeaRoom

Inner Sanctuary Growth Brew

Spirituality In The WorkPlace

Spiritual Parenting PlayRoom

Angels Miracles & Noble Deeds

Spirituality Message Boards

Letting Go ~ Guilt Trips
by Jane Mullikin
We, who are intent upon fully realizing our spiritual journey and giving it priority over our physical life, place importance on letting go. Letting go of false value systems is likely to be the first priority. It is the easiest to identify since it is the most obvious change we need to make. Truly letting go entails much more than affirming a good belief system. It entails releasing all to which we have an earthly, controlling or possessive connection and reaffirming with a love that accepts them as they are and their journey as it unfolds without interfering.

Holidays are great occasions for getting together with family and more firmly cementing the bonds of our relationship. When these occasions are accompanied by the joy of being in one another�s company, they create long lasting memories that carry us through darker times. We know we are not alone�we have family. Unfortunately, many are gathered out of a sense of responsibility, guilt or requirement and are not family in spirit.

During holiday seasons we see the compulsory gathering of people connected only by blood. We frequently hear phrases such as �guilt trip� and �family obligation�. Have we created a false belief that says if we all get together on special occasions we must be a Leave It To Beaver family? Are we pretending a relationship when none exists? Are we lying to ourselves? Are we taking what is there and doing the best we can with what we have to work with.

    "I find myself doing my best to ignore the buttons and old guilt trips, or even the new ones. I take deep breathes...before, during, and after family gatherings. I remind myself to be grateful I have family at all. I want my daughter to experience family, but strive to protect her from games that continue to this day. And learn not to take personally other's tendency to manifest their problems as verbal or emotional attacks on anyone within range. We learn to look at the bigger picture and what else is behind the unkind words. C.S.

A loving person will participate in holiday gatherings because they care about family members who would be hurt by their nonparticipation. This is not the same as pretending: pretending we want to be there, pretending we are happy. Neither is this the same as laying it all out in the open: �don�t want to be here but I knew I had to come� is very hurtful when expressed vocally or by attitude. This attitude is an end expression of guilt buttons installed in the child.

    Children who are made to feel guilty for normal mistakes or problems that are beyond their control will come to believe that they are responsible for every negative thing that happens in a family, leading to an overwhelming sense of guilt. D.O.

A peace-loving spirit seeks a way to reconcile all these differences, all these myriad scenarios, without causing anyone, themselves or others, to be disappointed or hurt. Now we are getting to the point where �letting go� becomes somewhat complicated. It calls for the participation of more than one.

First we have to determine and release the negative impacts of the guilt trips used to control us as children. In all fairness, let us pause to realize mom and dad did not install those guilt buttons to traumatize their children. In all fairness, they didn�t want to install them in the first place. They were created in moments when concern for a child�s safety and survival overwhelmed careful analysis of their words. The guilt�s ability to suppress the child�s spirit grew in scope as the child matured. Guilt traveled in directions never foreseen.

Communication between adult children and parents, loving communication accepting each other as unique individuals�not finger pointing--is the choice way of resolving this issue.

Parents who are on a spiritual journey will want to understand how their children have reacted to the guilt buttons so they can uninstall them. So many times they are not aware of the extent of the guilt, where it has been formed or how it is impeding growth.

It is also true that parents will let go of the buttons and the child will still hold on to them, continuing, like Don Quixote, to strike at windmills. Communication, once again, is the way to resolve this situation. If either side is too combative to allow free flow of communication, the written word is an alternative.

    Additional pain can result from trying to express rebellious attitudes created by guilt trips. Additional pain can also be a result of inappropriate timing. Do not address it at an emotional time. Wait for private moments instead of dealing with it at the family gathering�besides being looked at like you have two heads, no one hears what you are saying. B.B.

Children who have embarked on a spiritual journey while parents are still pushing the buttons often feel discouraged and frustrated. It is understandable that they may reach a boiling point and explode; but this leaves them with a whole new self-imposed guilt package. Exploding works no better than pretending the problem does not exist. Understanding the parent�s personal dynamics allows acceptance. Acceptance is the basis for patiently forgiving hurts or injuries.

    The need to control is almost always fueled by anxiety � though the controllers seldom recognize their fears. To keep this anxiety from overwhelming them, they try to control the people or things around them. They have a hard time with negotiation and compromise and they can�t stand imperfection. The control freak is usually fighting off a deep-seated sense of helplessness and impotence. By becoming proficient at trying to control other people, they are warding off their own fear of being out of control and helpless. Controlling is an anxiety management tool. T.S.

Only when relationships are made whole can real spirit-to-spirit celebration commence. Letting go is the first step toward this celebration; it is the invitation.

    �Remaining stagnant and looking at the world and its souls with a cynical and judgmental eye, not only hurts the beholder, but those who are looked upon. I am so grateful for the souls on their own travels who have touched my life with love, hope, and light. They remind me that the journey is worth taking, worth enduring the growing pains that lead to a better life, and a reward that is priceless." C.S.

Develop amnesia. The past is over. What past? E.K.

I will spend a little more time in prayer today;
I will read something spiritual or inspirational today;
I will find a quiet place and listen to God�s voice. � Jane Mullikin

Spirit - Finding Hope in a World of Uncertainty