“Guilt was never a rational thing; it distorts all the faculties of the human mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason, it puts him into confusion.”
- Edmund Burke
You Can Change Your Feelings
The Problem with Feeling Guilty
Self Imposed Rules
When we hit Labor Day, summer vacation is over!!
Welcome back from the summer break. – and if you’re like me, I regret having to get back to the daily pressures – self imposed or otherwise. One of the huge self-imposed pressures that we have is guilt.
When your kid does drugs, You blame yourself. What did I do wrong? Guilt
When your partner breaks up with you? Again you say what did I do wrong? Guilt
When your wife pleaded that you don’t play golf next weekend and you lie and go anyway, - more guilt.
To start things off for fall, this newsletter is about guilt
Guilt causes anxiety. It keeps you feeling low. You can lose sleep, develop ulcers, obsess about what you did or didn’t do, in other words, it can consume you. Punishing yourself does nothing except bring you more suffering.
Dealing with Guilt.
Guilt is a feeling, an emotion. And as with any other emotion, you’re in control. The only one responsible for feeling the way you do is you. Think about it. You send this message to yourself, telling yourself that you did wrong, and you should suffer because of it. Think about it. Are you really a bad person or did you simply do wrong?
The Problem with Feeling Guilty
Feeling guilty makes you feel bad and no one wants that uncomfortable feeling. So, the first thing you’ll do is make yourself feel better. So, if you’re a compulsive over-eater you’ll eat (and it’s never a healthy food that’s for sure). If you escape into drugs, or alcohol, or sex to avoid feeling bad, that’s exactly where you’ll go. You may beg, cry or do whatever, to get the relationship back – even if deep down you know it would be better to split up. So guilt feeling leads to more guilt feeling.
All western religions have rules that must be obeyed and if you have strong beliefs, nothing can make you feel more guilty than breaking the word of God. You’re a sinner. But guilt is not atonement. It will not make things better. That’s why all Western religions also allow you to confess and be absolved of your sins. Why? Because guilt keeps you in check, but it also keeps you from moving on.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should sin, lie, or commit crimes. You can’t change what you’ve done. What I’m saying is that what’s done is done. Regret what you’ve done. Learn from it. Grow from it. And be mindful not to do it again.
Learn to turn your thoughts around
"What did I do to make you act like that?" Wow!! That’s a guilt trip.
It’s implied that you are the cause their pain and suffering. I know of a situation where the teenage son didn’t call home and came in way past curfew. When he finally came home, he found his mother in bed, sobbing. "How could you do this to me? You’re killing me having to stay up at this hour."
Needless to say, this boy would feel very guilty if he didn’t call and mom would have her way.
When you’ve set strict rules for yourself and don’t reach your goal, you feel guilty.
Why? Because you tell yourself you ‘should’ have done it(another message that you're not good enough).
Perfectionists always feel guilty unless they live up to their demands. It's hard to be them.
“Guilt is the price we pay willingly for doing what we are going to do anyway”
Make a resolution to learn from your mistakes.
Think before you jump into action
Make amends and correct mistakes.
Stop condemning yourself wishing things were different.
Remember that guilt is unhealthy and adds to depression, low self-confidence and obsessive thinking.
Change the emotion of 'guilt' to 'regret'. Correct your mistakes and move on.
I'm thrilled to mention that Recovery Coaching, Personal Coaching and Consultations will soon be available on untwist-your-thinking.com. You’ll be able to purchase 1 or more hours and use the time in smaller increments – 15, 20, 30 minutes – until your time is used up. A great way to get expedient results in the most cost effective fashion! I’ll tell you when we launch it.
If you have a question, comment or suggestion for future topics,
I'd love to hear from you.
Have a particular problem related to guilt,
Topic for October: Envy. It ruins friendships. Need I say more?
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