“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
Guilt Drags you Down
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 Drags You Down
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.
You Can Change Your Feelings.
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.
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 by coming in at this hour.’ Needless to say, this boy would feel very guilty if he didn’t call and mom would have her way.
Self Imposed Rules
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. Perfectionists always feel guilty unless they live up to their demands.
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.
“Guilt is the price we pay willingly for doing what we are going to do anyway”
The following question was chosen from the many questions that I received last month. It was printed with the author’s permission.
I hope you answer my question, because I really need an answer for this. Since I was in high school, I found that I was more productive at night. Today, as a mother of 2 I still find that I’m more productive at night and can’t wait for everyone to get to sleep so I can do what I have to do. I found that many people do this, but my husband gets angry because it’s ruining our sex life. How can I be more productive during the day.
You may have too many distractions during the day and at night, everyone is in bed, you don’t get phone calls and it’s quiet. Some people have trouble falling asleep due to health problems, or they may drink too much coffee and are wired during the night. There are others who don’t need much sleep. You may be one of them, but if you want to stop being productive at night start by making a to do list for the day - and don’t allow yourself to get distracted. While you’re working don’t pick up calls. Get back to people during your break.
Don’t waste time in front the computer or TV. Limit your personal e-mails. Give yourself a reasonable bed time. If you can’t get things done during the day, aim for the next day and also aim for going to bed earlier. ex. If you’ve been going to bed at 2 or 3, make bedtime midnight or 1.
Don’t work or play on the computer before settling down before bed. Don’t cook or clean either. Do nothing stimulating. Read, listen to relaxing music – that type of thing. Relax things before bedtime and make sure all work related activities are done during the day.
This is not easy in the beginning, but it becomes habit. And, if you don't need my sleep, you can learn to go to sleep when your husband does and get up earlier to catch up on your work.
If you have a question or wish to add a story to help others, tell me and with your permission you can
share it in the zine.
If you have a personal question about this or a related issue, feel free to
send me an e-mail and tell me about it
Just a Note
There will be no August issue of the Powerful Living e-zine, because I'll be on vacation. But we we'll resume in September, when the topic will be 'guilt'.
I also want to thank you for the many ideas, comments and suggestions that were sent to me. I appreciate hearing from all of you.
Wishing you a safe, relaxing summer!!
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