Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Guilt, such a small word that creates huge problems. Do you ever experience guilt in your day? You ate an extra piece of cake you shouldn't have, your avoided a phone call from a family member, your child isn't doing well at school and you blame yourself, you told a little lie to avoid going to a social event, sound familiar?
Guilt can consume us. It is like a weed that keeps growing in our mind and can morph into many other feelings like resentment, anger, depression and more. Guilt can rob us of enjoying life, it can send our mind into a constant state of worry, steal our sleep, and create patterns of anxiety and restlessness. Guilt interferes with relationships of all kinds, and if guilt is carried in from your childhood it can set up your adult life with patterns of escapism, avoidance, lashing out and a reluctance to enjoy life.
So how do you take those feelings of guilt, release them, and change that energy into the positive?
Here are some tips on what you can do when you feel the feelings of guilt creep in:
1. Stop magnifying what you did: Take a step back and ask yourself if beating yourself up over eating that extra piece of cake or telling a white lie deserve the attention you are giving it? My guess is it probably doesn’t. Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes what you did you needed to do for YOU at that moment, and it's okay! Unless you have recently committed a violent crime, chances are, you are being FAR too hard on yourself! This kind of guilt can grow like a weed, so nip it in the bud, fast!
2. You are not your actions: In other words, just because you lied to a friend, or cheated on a test, does not make you a bad person. You cheated, you lied, but you are not a liar or a cheater...you did what you thought you needed to at the time, and it may have been a poor decision, but it's okay! We all make poor judgement calls from time to time, so see how you could have done things differently, been more honest with others or yourself, and do things differently next time.
3. Self-compassion: Did you know that by forgiving yourself you will endeavour to do better next time? Sometimes we do things that make us feel so horrible that we don't ever do them again! Having some compassion for being human is a good thing, it is okay to make mistakes, you don't have to be perfect...and let me tell you a newsflash, you never will be! Learning to have some compassion for your mistakes will help you release the guilt...it is okay, honestly.
4. Ask for forgiveness: If you genuinely did a shitty thing, and an apology is required, apologize! Remember, you are doing this for YOU. It is much like anger and the coal, if you hold onto anger it is like holding onto a hot coal, the one holding it is the only one getting burned. The forgiveness thing is for you, and no one else. Then move on. Whatever you did or didn't do has zero relevance past this present moment, once you are able to forgive, you can move on. There is no place for the past in the future!
So release your guilt, the only one it is hurting is you, and you are far too precious to waste your heart, mind, soul and life on an emotion that is just that...it is just an emotion. It has no life unless you give it one.
~ Monika xo