Moving through Guilt
Some people say guilt serves no purpose and in a prolonged sense that is true. However, at the heart of guilt is acceptance and self-forgiveness. The love of our pets is so unconditional and pure that there is nothing we can begrudge them. So if you are living with the sticky, relentless and painful reality of guilt, What can you do-?
1. Stop and breathe as you begin to replay the same narratives in your head about the events and what you could/would and should have done differently. Change your position, action and thought pattern.
2. Think of the times you were there for your pet- the love you have for them and the times you did shut the gate, put them on the lead, cuddle them as the loving and responsible owner you are for them.
3. Honor and validate the bond you have with them by speaking to people you trust about your feelings of guilt. Or writing them down.
4. Ask for your pet’s forgiveness first if you feel this will make it easier to ask for your own.
5. Imagine your pet giving this to you, imagine being in the presence of the love you have for them and them for you.
6. Focus on the love- forgiveness of yourself is the final act of love.
7. Carry out positive affirmative actions- even if you don’t feel that way! Donate to a charity or pet support or rescue organization. Have the courage to share your experience.
8. Choose to remember your entire relationship with your pet, in its fullness and depth.
We need to love and remember them in a full and balanced way. So finding a way to overcome guilt is not through reasoning alone but through dropping into the heart of the feelings we have. First into acceptance of the terrible truth of what is and then to self -forgiveness for what we believe we did or didn’t do. To adopt these actions when we are most vulnerable are the enduring and priceless life lessons our pets teach us.