One of the most detrimental emotions we can rigidly cling to after a loved one crosses over is guilt: over what we didn’t do, what we did do or what we thought during those last moments together. And, while this post focuses on the deep regret we feel after someone has passed away, any type of in-grained guilt can lead to the same complications.

Kindling self-reproach can create problems for years to come

When we internalize negativity, we close ourselves off to our departed one’s love and slow our progression through the grieving process.

Further, when we mire ourselves in blame, we make their passing all about us and our actions. We focus on our failings instead of the relationship we had or their wonderful qualities. We don’t dwell on the life we shared with them because our pain is too great.

Our shame permeates our outlook and can make life appear pointless. We stagnate because we can’t move forward, spiritually or emotionally.

Those on the Other Side don’t want us living in remorse

Our ascended loved ones understand the turmoil we went through or what we needed to do to cope with their moving on. They know we did our best and acted as well as we could under the circumstances. They also realize we have lessons to learn from their passing.

Please know that our dear ones:

  • don’t agree with the failings we punish ourselves for,
  • understand the action/inaction we took and don’t judge us for it,
  • love us immensely and
  • are waiting for us to forgive ourselves, so we can open up to them once again.

Until then, we can’t accept blessings if we feel we aren’t worthy of them.

My recent realization

For years, I hadn’t experienced the spiritual growth I felt I was capable of. My friend Charlotte (the telepath in A Reluctant Spirit) kept telling me it was because I was too hard on myself. Yes, I really was pushing myself, but even when I let go, I still didn’t move forward.

What I didn’t recognize was that I was beating myself up over my beloved pet PeeTee’s death in 1990 and had buried the pain so deep inside of me, I didn’t realize I was still punishing myself over it. On my veterinarian’s advice, I had put my dear cockatiel into such a state of distress he’d died of a heart attack.

A couple weeks ago during a yoga class, my teacher asked us to release our guilt and accept blessing. Tears started flowing. But why? Afterward, I prayed to God to send guidance to help me discover why I’d reacted so strongly to the teacher’s words. Deep down, I knew this was what Charlotte had been referring to.

The next day a song aired on the radio. One I always switch off, because it reminds me of my pet’s abrupt death. Except this time, I let it play. I sobbed. I grieved. I asked PeeTee for forgiveness. I told him I loved him and never wanted to hurt him. The pain gushed out of me like it’d happened last week, not 26 years ago.

Let’s move forward

To heal, we must recognize our stagnation in misery and free ourselves of unproductive blame. The technique below—a slightly modified version of what my yoga instructor suggested I use—has already helped me.

Repeat this mantra to yourself each morning and evening, and write it down in your journal:

  • I release the guilt.
  • I forgive myself.
  • I accept the love.

Even if you don’t believe yourself worthy of blessings, keep reciting these sentences. Each time, you further expand the opening for healing.

Within a day of practicing these intentions, I felt PeeTee’s adoration. I felt him perched on my shoulder, cuddling against my neck. At that point, I knew he’d been there many times before trying to comfort me, but I was unable to receive it because of my guilt.

It takes time for healing

While I started reaping immediate benefits from this practice, I can’t override my negative self-talk and erase the effects it’s had on me right away. I’m experiencing more lightness than dark, but when the virtual night settles in, I work on accepting God’s grace and allow the sacred love to come to me.

Full self-forgiveness means releasing the toxicity I’ve filled myself with and permitting my body, mind and spirit to heal. I’m gaining more spiritual and emotional clarity as I work on relieving the heaviness I’d heaped upon myself. I’m recalling wonderful times I had with that precious creature who brings me unconditional love even well after his body ceased to exist.

Thank you to Reverend Dr. Kathaleen Midcalf, Yoga Pearl founder for all the support and wisdom she’s imparted to me over the years.