Shame On Us

Apart from the wondrous enlightened few, we have quite a worried bunch here. We bite our lip peering into a distant tomorrow, fret over things we can’t control. You can check out the confessions on this post if you missed them. We fear the ground giving way under our feet, of being cut off from this beautiful world and from those we love. Every time my husband steps out to get gas, I hear an ominous echo under the casual “I’ll be back” he tosses over his shoulder. The classic hold-up at the local gas station plays itself out before my eyes, his last words an innocent presumption that could bring the house crashing on my head.

So let me switch gears and ask: what burden of guilt do you carry? What do you beat yourself up over? Please don’t tell me about the body you buried in the night. I don’t need bloodhounds all over this blog or the cops at my door.

And you got me. I’ll leave the LIKE button on. Stubborn people.



150 thoughts on “Shame On Us

  1. Reblogged this on Jayne Hyatt and commented:
    All our worry and guilt are a testament to how much we care.about those we love and the world we live in. On some level we know worry is futile, but we indulge in it nevertheless. I’m happier when I’m not worried. I’m working on that.

  2. Honestly, I beat myself up over not being able to save people from themselves. There are a whole lot of addicts and suicides where I live, rampant unemployment, despair, and I kind of just have to watch a lot of people spiral out of control. I don’t really like being left behind while others circle down the drain engrossed in their own misery. Life is so sweet, so precious, and I wish more people understood how loved they were and how important it is to not take life so seriously. Honestly, none of us are going to get out of here alive anyway, so we should stop acting as if everything were a matter of life or death. Relax, have some fun, laugh at yourself.

  3. Ha, that’s nice to listen to the readers re leaving the ‘like’ button on. I wish I can point to one guilt feeling in particular. I think sometimes I tend to invent one where none existed… heaven help me!

  4. I carry the guilt of my past. Nothing I can do to change it, out of my control so many years later and yet I harbor the guilt and shame of the selfish, stupid girl I was.

  5. I wrote a post about regret today. But not my greatest regret. My life’s greatest regret was signing paper’s okaying a c-section I didn’t want – our premature baby only lived 10 perilous days and if I could go back and change one thing in my life, I wouldn’t sign those papers. Maybe fate can’t be changed. I don’t beat myself up over it. I just live with it.

      • That’s a great thing to remind yourself of. I remember one night when I was at the gym (and finally able to have a clear-minded adult thought after watching my 2.5 year old and 8 month old all day), out of nowhere it hit me that I spoke more harsh words than gentle words to my 2 year old that day. He’s 2. TWO. I certainly don’t want rebellion and pride to take root in his heart, but I worry so much about breaking his spirit. I think all parents know these kind of days…the days that we begin with discipline, then raise our tone, then become impatient, then become annoyed, then frustration, then we begin attacking our toddlers over absolutely nothing. If anything, that particular day reminded me that my patience isn’t a good as I thought it was, but the guilt I felt was quite burdensome. I’m still letting go of it.

      • THANK you for the painful honesty. I’ve been worse. :/ Trust me. I struggle with the shame. I remind myself this morning of my high calling and privilege to care for this little life. I won’t be able to do this day over.

        Grateful you walk with us,

  6. I still have guilt over what I should have done as a parent. As many do. I am learning to let it go, but when I see the pain and the effects my decisions and actions of so long ago still have on them it is difficult to let it go.

  7. In all honesty? The past. I’ve made many mistakes that I have resolved myself to live with the burden of. I’ve modified my life to prevent those actions or behaviors from ever being a reality again. But you know the saying — what’s done is done. So rather than tell my loved ones how I feel I live with the guilt on my own because it’s my penance to myself for those actions/behaviors.

    • “I’ve modified my life to prevent those actions or behaviors from ever being a reality again.” That’s wonderful, B. But you know continuing to punish yourself isn’t the way. We imprison ourself to our past, not to mention harm ourself physically. But yeah, I gotta tell that to the mirror. Seems many of us are nursing shame over our past.

      Thank you so much for sharing.


      • Thanks Diana! πŸ™‚ I appreciate the response. While I agree with you on the fact that we harm ourselves when we are a slave to the past I also think that having a good measure of personal accountability keeps us from repeating mistakes over and over. πŸ™‚

        Thanks again,

        Bee ❀

      • My boyfriend is Chinese so he’s also a sucker for accountability. The nice thing about having an asian partner is that he is never scared to call me on my bs or areas that need improvement. And tangentially he is always the first person to support me and motivate me in my endeavors!

      • Yes indeed!!!! 4 years dating and counting πŸ™‚ Very interesting to have landed in this relationship. Not something I expected but I’m glad we fell into it πŸ™‚ Love your blog, btw!

      • Yep! My parents love him and think that he’s awesome. I get along pretty well with his mom, too, but that took a bit of time to get to that point. One of his previous relationships was with someone who was not Chinese and she was a user/abuser so that really put his mom off. It took me about….1.5 years to fully gain her approval/trust, haha. But it was worth it! Difficult road, though, with lots of cultural things that we didn’t necessarily see eye to eye on but we’ve managed to find footing with one another and have a good relationship now. She teaches me to cook traditional food, I buy her presents or find different things I think she’ll like and take her out with Henry (her son) to go to different towns to go exploring. She gets out and about (as does he) more often now that I’m in the picture. It’s all just a balancing game, haha.

      • Wow. You are amazing, girl. Won over an ASIAN mom. It is way harder for you than it’d be for Henry (with your folks) if all your parents “were typical” in their culture (which is yes, dumb to think but you know what I mean). I can already surmise you’re a giving and pretty flexible person.

      • I try my best! His Asian mom was more difficult than I imagined she would be. Many unwritten subtexts and expectations — familial and otherwise — that I was not aware of when we started dating. We had our bumps in the road due to the language barrier (she doesn’t speak English at all) so communicating was hard for us without Henry being around. So we actually ended up cooking together and we didn’t really need to talk too much to do it and it was all uphill from there. We still can’t really talk too much without having him to translate both sides but I have learned a lot about filial piety and putting that into my relationship with her, which was weird given my Western upbringing… But so far so good!

        His sister on the other hand…. Egh. That’s a story for another time, I suppose! πŸ™‚

      • LOL Poor you.

        Hey, be glad he’s Chinese, not Korean. Koreans are worse with the subtexts…they’re subeverything. Drives me nuts. I’ll be dropping in when I can, Bee, though it may be a while. Working on something special I’ve been planning for you guys.


      • Ohhhh I know. I dated a Korean guy for two years!

        I’m looking forward to whatever you have planned for us. Stay happy, Diana ❀ πŸ™‚

      • Indeed I have! πŸ˜€ Hilarious that you would reference that. I have a jar in my pantry at home as we speak πŸ˜›

  8. Oh goody, the like button stays! lol. I had to think hard about this question. I’m not sure about the word guilt as I’m over that stage of my life now and take God at His word. Perhaps regrets? I regret I don’t have the energy and vigour I had to put into doing something useful to benefit mankind still. I regret I don’t have the money to satisfy the needs of all those suffering refugees who number millions and have lost all as the have fled from the increasing war zones of this earth.

    • Goody lol. Actually, I wavered on the title: after changing it to regret, I switched it BACK and THEN settled on shame. I know: women!

      I liked that regret in the title except not everyone will regret what they feel they are guilty of! As to your own regrets, you are too generous, Ian. I’m just so glad you don’t shuffle around unnecessary guilt that God suffered to remove.

  9. The times in my youth before i found my own faith, when i attacked another for theirs, and knowing that i can never find them now to tell them how wrong i was. And knowing that God knows the exact number.

  10. Honestly, I refuse to get all caught up in the guilt thing. We have all done…stuff. And I have to wonder if we set the guilt trip up for ourselves or if what other people will think is what gets us going. Life’s short. Things happen. No one is perfect. We do the best we think we can; the rest is history.

  11. Regret and guilt over my parenting as a young single mom . . . I know I could have done a better job and some how I think my children’s lives would have been better as a result. I know these emotions are a waste of time so I do my best to be a good mom to my kids now, even though they are all grown up.

    • Right. That is all we can do. THIS is the day we have to do it right. Thank you for sharing what was such a difficult part of your journey. And hats off to you for having pulled through.


  12. My only regret is not being a better daughter to my mother. If I had it to do over again I would show her how much I appreciate her and tell her more often than I did. Since I lost her when I was 29 years old and I was knee deep in being a new mom I think I was preoccupied when I should have been more focused on her. But every night for about 2 months, before I went to sleep and before her passing I went into her room laid on her bed and cried on her chest, because we both knew she was leaving soon. Then one night I got up and kissed her goodnight and told her when the time comes, that I would see her again soon and that we wouldn’t be apart for long.

  13. Just about everything, which is not a bad thing as it creates a lot of contrast in my mind/life…which makes things more interesting. This contrast then allows me to focus on what is really meaningful. It is kind of a cyclical wave…and it is the beginning of this cycle that can be exhausting… πŸ™‚

  14. I suppose that worry, and regret over the past, can be interesting mental exercises if done properly. But you gotta ask yourself, “if I can’t do anything about it, is the worry really worth the time and effort?”

  15. I worry about my daughter A LOT. I worry if i will be able to provide a good life for her. A life way better than what i experienced growing up. So far I am doing okay but I want to do a whole lot more. Only time will tell if I will make that a reality.

    • Dear of you. We parents nurse that worry to varying degrees. The scale runs from hope all the way to worry and fear. You obviously love your daughter more than you can say. The readers have reminded me that I won’t be able to do this day over, but all I can do is my best.


  16. There is something that will help with all this guilt and self-deprecation. It’s called Emotional Freedom Technique, EFT or tapping, and this particular form was evolved by Stanford Engineer, Gary Craig. It is based on Chinese medicine and involves tapping on meridian/acupressure points while verbalizing (as visually and viscerally as possible) the physical/spiritual/mental concern. There’s much guidance for free on YouTube – good practitioners include Brad Yates, Doctor Patricia Carrington, Gary Craig (though he has retired). Doctor Mercola on has some sessions and various links to the topic. Nick and Jessica Ortner host free webinars from time to time. EFT is not necessarily a quick fix, but tapping is something you can learn to do easily, and at the very least it can take the heat off situations. It is also a means of bringing to the surface all those hardwired false beliefs that underpin the guilt – things you misunderstood as a child etc. The subconscious does not forget. If there are deep issues, it’s best to work first with a good practitioner. There is a worldwide register, and their symbol is a white dove on a blue background. The technique can also be beneficial for physical complaints. It does not heal per se, but prompts the body’s own magnificent healing system to start taking action. So much of our ill health is caused by our false thinking. Even CDC – Centre for Disease Control acknowledges this as a prime factor. Hope this helps, Diana. Or at least is food for thought.

    • Actually, we ended up canceling our appt with an EFT practitioner a few yrs back bc she was so far. It sounded right up my alley, given my appreciation for the Chinese healing arts. Thanks so much for leaving us the clear description of the practice, Tish. I hadn’t realized Mercola was in the vanguard on this practice. May I ask how long/much of this you’ve done?

      • Hi again, Diana. I’ve known about EFT for 14 years, and I’ve followed the doings of a lot of the people I mentioned. Dr. Mercola always mentions it as part of any healing strategy. I have been to a practitioner as well. I wasn’t quite tuned in with her, but she did shift some stuff. Also she brought certain aspects of my past into my awareness, and that can be a big first step whatever you choose to do about it next.

        I generally have a lot of resistance to dealing with things that need sorting about myself, and would rather just push on come what may. I have thus not been using EFT as much as I might, but I know that when I use it with all of myself engaged, it does shift things. I find it especially good for stored up anger. I march around the house tapping, and just do a stream of consciousness rant. It is surprising what information comes out of one’s mouth, about oneself or others. I think basically EFT is about getting in touch with the subconscious which is like a continent of untapped resources and information, and often of serious mis-information too.

        If I’m feeling in need of a lift though, I just watch a Brad Yates video on YouTube. It doesn’t seem to matter what the subject of the session is to get some benefit. His gently humorous humanity always raises my spirits.

        Recently, too, EFT has been used successfully on people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and also on the victims of the Rwandan genocide. Its effects on certain medical conditions have also been demonstrated scientifically. Nick Ortner made a film fairly recently which is on DVD and is probably the best intro to the practice. He’s also written a book. But I suggest you have a look on YouTube. There should be some of his sessions there. Tx

      • Oh, I’ve no doubt it would help those with PTSD and the like. So interesting: I’m almost scared to think of what may come out of my mouth! That is something, yes, that we’re a store of misinformation as well. Because our filters and perceptions are skewed.

        So glad for the resource you leave us. Thanks again, T.


    • Tish, I reread our thread on EFT after trying it and it is really something. In just a little over 24 hrs of starting Nick O’s book and chkg out a few online vids (and trying it), I realized all sorts of important and precious things about my past and self that helped me release things. I’d mentioned that I came close to seeing a recommended practitioner before you dropped your comment but distance was too much of an obstacle. I totally get the science to it (wish more practitioners would talk about that aspect) bc they are potent acupuncture meridians we are stimulating. Thanks so much again for the info. I’ll be sharing your comment with a friend who suffers crushing migraines.


      • Fantastic, Diana. I’m so glad it’s been a help. And thank you so much too for letting me know. Great news, my dear. Keep tapping. You are also reminding me to get back to it too. I find I can really shift stuff when I’m angry and can stride around the place and tap as I go. Also in the shower – hardly need to say but symbolic circumstances of water washing stuff away πŸ™‚

      • I am looking forward to using it with T. He’s turning 10 and it’s been a hard year.
        By the way, I love the water metaphor but it’s good to keep showers to under 20 min. Water exposure beyond that weakens the body, the chi (the very thing tapping stimulates and unblocks).

  17. Last night I realised that we took our beloved dog swimming in a (truly beautiful) river heavily populated by crocodiles. It was calm and felt safe, and we had a magical day, but when I went to bed the penny dropped… the jetty we sat on while watching him play and swim was the jetty the croc-spotting river cruise leaves from. I felt so sick from fear and guilt that I couldn’t sleep all night. I drove our move “far north” 4 months ago, and was (am?) feeling enormous guilt that I moved my family to this more risky part of Australia… despite us being happy and healthy. Guilt is a killer, especially at night… 😦

  18. Not saying yes to opportunities that I had. My no was quick due to fear, lack of understanding, missing direction or outright ignoring God’s nudges. The older I get, the more time I take to think about things and more often than not, I say yes and push on that door of opportunity. It is exhilarating!

  19. For me, it’s my children. Am I doing good enough? Do they get from me what they really need? The problem is that I won’t know until it’s too late and there’s no going back. Thank you for keeping the like button. πŸ™‚

  20. Thank you for leaving the button. I am visiting others’ blogs sporadically, and it is always nice to see where I finished reading last time to catch up. Not always I comment, but I really like all your blog posts.
    Inese πŸ™‚

  21. I actually have a lot less guilt now that my mother is gone – we had a relationship that was bound up, for me, in guilt – particularly so when she was ill for the last few years of her life. It was something of a release not to have to worry about what she thought.

  22. Not being able to be honest with family or those closest to me to avoid the inevitable confrontation. I make myself sick over this because I try to be the best person I can by following the rules and playing fair but it angers me that others can so easily take me for granted. Then I feel bad for feeling angry and it’s a vicious never-ending cycle.

  23. I really do not anymore want to dwell on the guilt especially because I got depressed last year and dwelling again on any/whatever guilt might bring the depression back. I’ve always known I tend to dwell on it too much and having learned my personality type recently only emphasized this weakness in me. So I’d rather think more of the positive stuff πŸ˜‰

  24. Maybe that I should have done more of the things that I ought not to have done? Oh, wait that’s regret. Different topic. I think it is important to schedule five minutes for guilt each day. That way you can get it over with. –Curt

    • Regret was in one of the titles I toyed with. But guilt was what I was after and I realized not everyone’s going to regret what they’re guilty of or feel guilty about. =)

      Love the scheduled guilt.

      • Regret is a different subject. You’re right. But it would also make a good blog topic. And I was half serious about the scheduled guilt session. Left alone to fester, it can eat away at us. I’ve always found the Catholic approach interesting. Go to confession, express your guilt, say your Hail Marys, and have a fresh start. –Curt

      • Go to confession, express your guilt, say your Hail Marys, and sin those sins all over again. LOL

        You reminded me of therapists who encourage worry sessions, time we set aside to list our worries and brainstorm plan Bs.

  25. I experience quite a lot of guilt over over-liking blogs! But seriously, it is a difficult switch from the feeling of anxiety/fear you bring to mind in the first part of the blog to the question of guilt. I suppose most of us fear the consequences of the things we feel guilty about. That is one kind of fear, but it is not as deep seated as the fear over things that I have no control over. But to return to the question proper, frankly I don’t feel a lot of guilt. Mostly regret.

    • Mmm. I told several readers that I changed the title from “regret” because what I wanted to target this time was guilt and though they’re related, as you point out they are separable. Some (or many) will not necessarily nurse guilt on certain things and I was whacking the bush for the things they did feel it over.

      • Gotcha. Probably my greatest guilt is about moving my family from family to pursue studies etc. And as you may suspect, had I not done so, I suspect I would be suffering regret for not doing so. Fear, regret, guilt… all of these emotions seem to shadow one another.

      • Well, what’s done is done, right? Gee, you bring up a great (and sad) point. Which shall we choose? Regret (over what our decision cost us) or guilt (over what it cost our loved ones)? For some reason – and I could be wrong/racist/ethnocentric in this – I suspect Asians would choose regret. That is, sacrifice. I think (in thinking aloud in a stream of consciousness) somehow our advanced Western postmodern culture encourages us to want things for ourself, “actualize” ourself, where in times past and in more traditional cultures people did more to put others’ needs above their own. Both good and bad to this.

  26. I sometimes feel guilty that my life is so much better than my mother’s has been. Part of that is due to my mother’s fears, part of it is due to my mother’s insistence during my childhood that I do things that would enable me to have a better life, and part of it is due to circumstance.

  27. My burden of guilt about my mother stayed with me all my life. I foolishly thought when she would pass away from this world I may have put it all in perspective by then, especially by writing a memoir. I haven’t.

  28. I told myself this fantastic lie that I would read one more blog post then call it a night. My warm thoughts of drifting into a deep and quiet sleep have just been abruptly interrupted by a couple of deep questions that I am compelled to address, both now and later. What makes me feel guilty? Enjoying the fruit of my labor and the discomfort it causes people who made different choices. I came a long way, but I am finally not counting it robbery to respect the fact that I made good choices and believed in them. I will no longer hold my happiness hostage because I realize I DESERVE to give thanks to my hard work. Thank you for the opportunity to introspect.

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