Allowing Guilt To Serve You

At work today, a pang of guilt just came out from nowhere and took me by surprise. My question was, “Why?” Why am I feeling this way now? Could there be a reason for all this?

My mind was flooded with painful memories of how my beloved goldfish, Patches and Peaches, had died. Though they were both ill, I have come to realise eventually that what killed them wasn’t entirely their sickness or disease.

It actually had a lot more to do with me and my own ignorance, unawareness, stubbornness and poor listening skills.

Patches was in a real bad shape, and I had gone down all the way to Singapore to see someone and also to hunt down some Parzi for my baby. I couldn’t wait to bring the meds home so he could get well.

Apparently, he was still eating before I got back. But on the night that I got home, I did a water change, introduced him to the meds and he stopped eating. I had not put two and two together at that time, that perhaps his refusal to eat was a sign that something really wasn’t right.

When I got up at 3 in the morning to check on him again, I saw peaches in her tank, huddled at a corner, looking down below into the blue tub where Patches was quarantined. The moment she saw me, she whipped her tail and swam in the opposite direction–a sign that she’s upset…

And I soon discovered why. There below was Patches, still looking like he’s sleeping, except that he was really gone this time… My heart broke.

I had really hoped that he would get well and live on forever…

I didn’t understand why he was gone the same night I got back.

So I repeated that mistake with Peaches, when she too fell sick.

Patches & Pebbles

Pebbles & Patches

Peaches, Pebbles & Patches

Peaches & Pebbles

It was only when I had spent endless hours and days and weeks and months grieving and agonizing over their death and wondering WHY over and over again when the reason became so clear to me one day.

Aunty Christine, the kind lady whom I had stayed with in Singapore had told me how her whole bucket of kois died after she gave them way too much medicine. “Only a few drops will do.”

But I, always thinking I know better, did what I felt was right.

I dropped two cap fulls of Parzi into Patches’s water. I do believe now that he died from an OD. And the same might be said for Peaches. I will never be 100% sure and there will always be a million and one other reasons that could’ve contributed to their early demise–but on my part, I am sure I was hugely responsible for their sudden departure, too.

And for that, I couldn’t forgive myself for a long time.

The guilt and sadness of knowing that you killed your own baby with your own bare hands–that’s a hard thing to live with. I loved them so much and wanted the best for them. But my ignorance didn’t help. I wasn’t paying attention to the details of their body language. I didn’t listen. And it cost two innocent goldfish their life.

So I felt so much fury at myself today, while at work.

I was kicking air under my table, partially wanting to give my own ass a kicking if that were possible.

But I was also largely aware that this must all be coming up for a reason?  Why now? Why am I suddenly feeling this way?

I thought I have been through this before and have decided to let myself off the hook when I came into awareness that the root of my sorrow and grief over my goldfish was my unforgiveness towards myself. So why are these negative feelings of guilt surfacing now, of all times?

Soon as I threw out the question why,

I began to see a clear parallel and lesson.

I loved my goldfish so much.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

I wanted the best for them.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

Out of my ignorance, unawareness, stubbornness and poor listening skills, I made things worst for my goldfish instead of the best I was hoping for them.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

I really, really, didn’t mean to hurt them.

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

But I messed it up–and repeated my mistake more than once!

So did The Loved Ones in my life.

The fact is, I really, really loved them.

And I’m sure The Loved Ones in my life really, really loved me too.

I didn’t mean for them to be in pain.

I’m sure The Loved Ones in my life didn’t mean for me to be in pain too.

This mental dialogue went on for a while until a point was made.

I began to understand that I had asked for this. I had prayed for a bigger capacity to love and forgive a specific loved one. I didn’t know how that might happen…

…till this.

*It was only when I got in touch with my own humanness, weaknesses and brokenness that I remembered I too have been guilty of the same.

*If silly me deserved forgiveness and grace, what more These Loved Ones in my life.

*I just need to put myself in their shoes… must not be easy being the one living with guilt.

*I also learnt once again, the importance of feeling our emotions, acknowledging it and letting it go.

Could your guilt or ‘negative’ feelings serve you today? 

There’s always a reason and lesson for everything. Ask Why…

…then be ready. The answers will come, in all shapes and forms.

Accept the truth–no matter how hurtful it may be to know the truth at first–because in the end, the truth really does sets you free.




“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

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