Embracing Guilt

All too often whenever I’m experiencing the feeling of guilt for having made a mistake or for having even willingly done something that I know is counter to my own good and the good of others, I immediately try to ‘sorry’ myself to death. I go into this spiral of repentance and trying to figure out how I’m going to make up for whatever mistake I made or whatever penitence I need to pay. I can become so determined to get rid of the bad feeling and remorse so quickly that often times I don’t actually allow myself to feel what I naturally NEED to feel in order to process the situation.

I’ve written and spoken many times about our need to NOT hide from the emotions we are feeling, negative or positive, but to embrace them. To allow them to hit us with their full force. This does several things that raise the quality of our lives.

One, it allows us to experience life fully, in the moment. When we hide or run from our emotions and feelings, or spend our time trying to work around them, we are cheating ourselves from the opportunity to know what it is to be human. To know what it is to feel in the center of our being. Remember, we cannot mitigate our negative feelings without mitigating our positive ones as well. So to the level with which we don’t allow ourselves to feel disappointment, anger, or sadness, we also negate the ability to feel love, joy, or satisfaction to that same level. This my friends, will lead to a very one dimensional, flat-lined life. Feel it!

Two, it allows you to be as truly sorry or repentant as you need to be. Let’s say you have made a mistake that has actually hurt somebody emotionally or even physically. Or maybe just hurt yourself emotionally or physically. If you try to skip over the remorse and get right to the apology, it will be empty. You’ll know it and they will know it. But if you allow yourself to completely feel the remorse until you realize the extent to which you are sorry, your apology and how you make up for it will absolutely be genuine, authentic, and enough. However, we must walk the fine line between shaming ourselves (this is bad) and truly allowing the feelings to run their course. Don’t shame yourself to try to feel worse or talk yourself into feeling better. Just sit back, be aware, and experience what you are feeling.

Maybe you will realize that you aren’t sorry and that even though you thought you should feel bad, you don’t. Or maybe you will realize that even though no one else thinks you did anything wrong, you are aware that you crossed a line within your own moral code.

Third and finally, embracing our emotions allows us the chance to take advantage of the opportunity to love ourselves. What? If you are having some feelings of remorse or regret, you are immediately facing an opportunity to not only allow those feelings to hit you, but to remind yourself in tangible ways, that even though you made a mistake and hurt yourself or someone else, you still love yourself and accept yourself just the way you are. And I’m serious about this one. Why wouldn’t you take every opportunity to love yourself and care for yourself?

After embracing your feeling of guilt and owning it, and you've been careful not to ride the wave of shame, then you are in a great place to move forward.  Maybe it's an apology.  Maybe it's not.  Maybe you're sorry.  Maybe you're not.  What is it that you're feeling?  That will determine your way forward.  Truly and in an authentic way.


"One's suffering disappears when one lets oneself go, when one yields - even to sadness."  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy."  ~Jim Rohn

"Guilt is anger directed at ourselves - at what we did or did not do. Resentment is anger directed at others - at what they did or did not do." ~Peter McWilliams

Are You Beautiful?

Within the music industry there have been a few songs that have been released recently with the same theme. It goes something like this… “This girl, that I think is beautiful, is beautiful because she has no idea that she is so. She doesn’t recognize her own beauty… and that is why she is beautiful.” I get the sentiment. There is something whole and pure about not being arrogant about one’s outward appearance. That being said, I couldn’t disagree with these songs more. Women aren’t beautiful because of their ignorance. That’s not what makes them beautiful. If you have a woman's heart and you’re reading this, you need to know this. You’re beautiful because of the way your particular smile curves on your face. You’re beautiful because of the depth in your eyes. You’re beautiful because of the shape of your cheek bones and the way your hair falls around your face or the way your neck runs from your shoulders .

You’re beautiful because of the way your heart moves for others. You’re beautiful because of the depth of your love for your children. You’re beautiful because of the way you choose your words. You’re beautiful because you were created uniquely with great care. Speaking for myself, there are too many ways that you are beautiful to actually put into words.

Does everyone think you’re beautiful? No. Should they? Yes. If you have a woman’s heart and you’re reading this, there is a good chance that you are fighting these words with every ounce of your being. You may be thinking, “well Brad is right when it comes to other women, but this is not true about me.” YES IT IS! I’m writing to you!

“But Brad, I don’t want to be one of those women who comes across as arrogant and full of themselves.” Then don’t. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging your beauty. In fact, embracing your beauty is one of the sexiest, most attractive things you can do. It is whole and holy. Sacred. Just because you acknowledge your beauty does not mean you need to use it to manipulate the world around you. Just because you recognize that you’re gorgeous does not mean that you must use that to gain favor.

Not knowing you’re beautiful IS NOT what makes you beautiful, contrary to what recent pop and country songs have told you. You just are beautiful. Deal with it.

This is one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever written. Not because the content is complex or complicated. It’s not. It’s just that there are so many more things that could be said at this point. So many ways that one could go with this subject to help alleviate the anxiety and confusion that can often accompany this topic. “I don’t really believe I’m beautiful.” “I don’t know how to accept my beauty.” “I can’t stop comparing myself to other women.” “I don’t want to focus too much on my looks.” “I long to hear my dad say it.” “I just want to have my husband say it.” “What does my beauty affect?” “How does it affect?” “What good is beauty anyway?” “Isn’t beauty just superficial?” “How beautiful am I?” “But I just can’t stand how my _________ looks.”

And I could go on and on. But I’m going to end with this…

Acknowledge your beauty. Embrace it. Sit with it. Sit with it for a long time. Stop what you’re doing right now and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Even if you don’t believe it. Say it. Don’t ask someone else their opinion. If you don’t believe it yourself you won’t believe them anyway. Just tell yourself you’re beautiful. Do it now. Because you are. And you NEED to embrace this. The world needs your beauty and we need you to know it. You’re beautiful.


“When you’re different, I think that’s beautiful. If you’re operating on nothing but who you are really, that always looks good.” ~ Macy Gray

“Define your own beauty… Rejoice in the fact that there is no E=mc² formula for beauty.” ~ Jenyne M. Raines

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

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