Not long ago we received an email with the following question.
“What do you do if you miss several days (or even weeks)? How do you get past the self-inflicted guilt and get back on track?”
My first thought was — Just pick it up and start from where you left off. It’s not a terrible answer if the only question is, “What do you do if you miss several days (or even weeks)?” As a matter of fact, I addressed that issue in the post, Listen to the Silence.
But the more difficult question is the second. “How do you get past the self-inflicted guilt and get back on track?”
Perhaps the answer lies within the question. Focus on these words, “self-inflicted guilt.” I know those words caught my attention. And, the reason I was so drawn to those words is, I’ve also participated in self-inflicted guilt.
While there are some who say all guilt lies within, I disagree.
My personal belief is there are 3 sources of guilt.
- The conscience supplied by God.
- The blame placed by others.
- And, of course, self-inflicted guilt.
The conscience supplied by God
If you use your journal in whole or in part to communicate with God, as do I, then the guilt may not be self inflicted. The guilt may be your conscience reminding you of time lost with the Creator.
The blame placed by others
In the home study, How to Create the Accidental Journal Writer, one of the suggestions we make to people trying to begin a journal writing routine is to find someone to “nag” them a bit until they become used to the routine. And, it helps.
But that isn’t what I’m talking about here. There are those who try to get you to behave in certain ways in order to get their way. You know what I mean because you know people like that. The best way to handle that nonsense for their sake as well as your own is to ignore their guilt trips. I know, easier said than done. Yet, worth the effort – again, for their sake as well as your own.
Now, we come to the issue of inflicting guilt upon ourselves. If you’ve eliminated both God and others as the source of your guilt you are left with only one person to “blame” for your guilty feelings. As I see it, you have two ways to deal with this guilt and they both take place in your journal. Both work. You decide.
Hash it out with yourself. Write about why you’ve been unavailable. Tell your journal (therefore yourself) all the things which have prevented you from maintaining a good journal writing routine. You are sure to uncover some interesting things about yourself.
Forgive yourself. Write the things you would say to anyone else you were forgiving. Bring your focus to what you can do now rather than what you have not done.
Do you have questions concerning your journal or general journaling questions? We love to hear from you. Send your question directly to me firstname.lastname@example.org