If you’re working on a Guilt ‘issue’ you have several challenges, most of which have to do with how you think about your characters.
If you’re feeling guilty it’s probably because you feel you’ve done something to hurt somebody else or you’ve let yourself down somehow. It’s a classic Blame/Resentment cycle with you stuck in the middle. For more on that read the article; ‘A Word About Guilt’.
As far as The Forgiveness Story workshop goes, here’s how were going to deal with it.
THE PROTAGONIST – Your challenge will be to build a likable Protagonist. You’re not going to be able to use ‘you’ as a model because you’re already not too happy with ‘you’. What I want you to do is take on the persona of the person you hurt or that part of you that you’ve let down. Create a character using all the criteria we use for the Protagonist in the workshop but do it from this person’s point of view. Of course you can’t know what’s going on inside another person’s head but remember, this is a storytelling process. Infuse your Protagonist with thoughts and feelings you think this other person is feeling or, better yet, what you would be feeling if you were them.
THE ANTAGONIST – The big difference in Guilt ‘issues’ is you’ll probably relate more to your Antagonist than your Protagonist. Since you already feel like the ‘Bad Guy’ you won’t have a problem accessing these feelings. When you start creating this character just use yourself as the model.
THE CONFLICT – Handle this just as you would according to the workshop guidelines. Your biggest challenge will be in keeping your characters straight and remembering who is the ‘Good Guy’ and who is the ‘Bad Buy’.
THE CLIMACTIC MOMENT: Part 1 – In this part you create a motivation for the Antagonist’s action. Since this person is modeled on you, you should have a pretty good idea of why your Antagonist did what she did. Surprisingly though, it might not be as simple as it seems. This may be the first time you’ve actually stepped back and looked at it. Right here it’s time to be brutally honest and thorough. You cannot hedge on this a bit. Remember, this is a character you’ve created and nobody is going to know who she’s based on. So be bold and air out all the dirty laundry.
THE CLIMACTIC MOMENT: Part 2 – This is where we find out where we’ve been hurt. In this part I want you to forget all about the Protagonist/Antagonist thing and just go through the process. Do all the exercises about Feelings and Emotions just as they’re written. At this point it will be impossible and useless to try to get in the other person'[s head so stay completely within yourself.
THE RESOLUTION – Do this just as the Assignment says.
THE AFFIRMATION – Write an Affirmation for ‘You’.
Don’t worry if you’re a little confused right now. You’ll understand more about each of these subjects as you progress through the Workshop.