What is guilt? 

Feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy SELF-REPROACH

I ate too many carbs: feel guilty. I didn’t go to the gym: feel guilty. I missed my children’s concert: feel guilty. I didn’t say my prayers today: feel guilty. How much has feeling guilty ever achieved? Nothing. 

I can honestly say that my life went to a new level when I stopped being a friend of guilt. Guilt leads to self rejection, lack of confidence and self sabotage. So how do you divorce guilt from your life?

  1. Develop new self talk: Treat yourself with kindness and respect. You are not a horrible human being. Sure, like every other human being you are prone to faults, foibles and errors. That does not mean that you should beat yourself up over and over again. Be kind… to you.
  2. Analyze feelings of inadequacy against available evidence: It is not likely that you are inadequate. Instead you might be time-pressured, energy-depleted, and/or boundary deficient. Feeling inadequate is very disempowering, but when weighed against actual life evidence, it is likely that you are simply doing the best you can.
  3. Separate fact from feeling: Ask yourself: did I actually do anything wrong? And by wrong I mean illegal, immoral, unethical? Did I drop the ball? If not, then you have no issues with feeling guilty. 
  4. Fact: If you are guilty of some actual wrongdoing, own it and take the consequences. So if you are reading this and you robbed a bank, turn yourself in! If you dropped the ball, apologize, forgive yourself, make amends in the best way you can, and move on.
  5. Feeling-Act with intention: First acknowledge the feeling of guilt, then replace it with something else. For example- “Uh-oh I drank 5 sodas today. I feel bad about it.” Instead of taking on that self reproach, tell yourself: “I should not have had 5 sodas today, I just won’t do it tomorrow.” Then take that intention, and do something with it. For example, maybe dump all the sodas in your house. Do you see how replacing guilt with intention to do something different can be a game changer?
  6. Mom-guilt: This deserves a category of its own. As moms, we get racked with guilt when we feel as though our parenting is below par. A lot of times it is over things that are relatively out of your control. For instance: you have to work so you have to hire a child care provider… guilt. You have to be a stay at home mom… guilt. You did’t provide home made snacks for the potluck, instead they were store bought… guilt. Take life in stride. Do what you are able to instead of feeling guilt and shame.

Do you feel guilty a lot? How are you working to ensure that you live a “feeling-of-guilt free” life? I would love to read your comments.

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