Guilt and Resentment have the same cure: forgiveness.

guilt-resentment-mcwilliams

When water won’t flow out of a sink, you pour drain cleaner into it to clear the clog or hire a plumber to clean it out. When arteries are clogged, you take medication to reduce the blockage or have surgery to increase the blood flow. But did you realize that there is the emotional equivalent of a clogged drain or a blocked artery?

Guilt and resentment are two names for the same emotion, the single most destructive emotion you can feel. Resentment is failing to forgive another person, and guilt is failing to forgive yourself. They are the same thing, but one is directed outwards while the other is directed inwards. Whichever way it is directed, however, it will block the flow of good into your life because it blocks the flow of good out.

One of the basic, fundamental laws of life says that you get out of life what you put into it. Another way of saying this is that you reap what you sow. If you harbor resentment in your heart, for another person or for yourself, your emotional outflow is tied up with those negative emotions. They color and distort everything you try to do or feel. You have to release them and clear them up before you can truly let the good flow as it should.

Recently I was washing clothes and noticed that my dryer was taking multiple cycles to dry a single load. I had to run it three times just to get the clothes dry. The problem was that the exhaust hose that vented to the outside was clogged with lint. The dryer was generating heat, but there was no airflow. All the heat was trapped inside the dryer, but it’s the flow that does the good. Once the clog was removed and the air could flow freely, the next load dried in a single run.

It doesn’t matter how much you try to concentrate on good or abundance or supply or love or wealth or anything else. If your emotional outflow is clogged with guilt and resentment, you are going to greatly reduce or even totally choke off the flow of good into your life until you release the negative emotions.

The best way to get rid of resentment is to simply reverse it. Whenever negative thoughts of any person enter your mind, stop right there and think positive thoughts of them. Think of some positive aspect of the person, or wish them the best in life. Remember, we should want for everyone else the things we want for ourselves. Make a point of really feeling positively toward the person, not just grudgingly admitting you hope they aren’t hit by an asteroid. Every time those thoughts pop into your mind, reverse them and then let them go. I promise you, it won’t be long before you feel the freedom of forgiveness.

The same thing goes for guilt. Understand that whatever you are feeling guilt for, that was the old you that did it. If it was something you did that you could have done better, understand that you’ve learned from it and will do better next time. If it was something you shouldn’t have done at all, understand that you’ve learned your lesson and will not make that mistake again. We all make mistakes, and holding resentment towards ourselves makes even less sense than holding it for another person.

absolution-wildeIf you truly feel you have wronged someone and feel deeply led to make amends, then do so. But understand that your guilt doesn’t come from how they feel about you, it is a matter of you not forgiving yourself. Another person’s forgiveness will not wash away your own guilt! You have to come to terms with your own guilt on your own.

If you’ve lived with guilt and resentment long enough, you may not even notice anymore. In fact, you may have entertained these emotions for so long that you can’t even readily identify them. But a few moments of meditation and introspection will help you discover them. If you’ve been trying to follow the laws and your results seem to be blocked by something, do a little soul searching and see if there isn’t some buried resentment or guilt that you need to let go of.

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