As people we take on a lot of responsibilities, and very often we take on feelings of responsibility for things that are unnecessary or not ours to take on. Guilt is an emotion that rears its ugly head too often. It is an emotion we are perhaps all too familiar with. There are those who live their lives wrapped in guilt on a daily basis and often it is self imposed. To free yourself from the guilt is not to say you do not care or you do not take responsibility. There is a time when you accept the responsibility of your actions but there are times when it may be that you are imposing a false guilt on yourself. This is the guilt you need to let go of. The guilt may come from something simple like cheating on a diet or not contacting your extended family or it may come from something more intense like making a dreadful choice that affects your life forever.
How do you do it though? How do you let go?
Identify the guilt as soon as it rears its head. We know that feeling when the words have just left our mouths and we immediately regret them and wish that they had stayed mere thoughts in our heads.
Catch yourself in that moment and ask yourself whether there is any logical reason to feel guilty about what has happened. Sometimes it takes writing it down or verbalising it out loud to properly answer that question. Once you ascertain whether the guilt is in fact not real, but rather a result of a standard you have imposed on yourself, let it go. An effective way in which to do this is through meditation and self reflection. For some people, though, it may even be as simple as writing it down on a piece of paper and throwing it in the bin and thereby symbolically getting rid of it
The guilt we feel can harm us both mentally and physically as pent up emotions always do. It is important to look at each situation independently and evaluate the feelings you attribute to it. Decide whether you’re allowing this negative feeling of guilt to get hold of you, and instead choose to let it go and allow positivity in.
> Make sure you have a notebook or some paper. Take some time and think over and identify what situations, people, broken promises or if only’s that cause you to feel guilty.
> Now keep in mind Guilt’s purpose isn’t to make you feel bad for the sake of it. The feeling of guilt is trying to get our attention so that we can learn something from the experience.
> Take the most important one’s on your list (or all of them if you’d like). Can you change the situation or make amends in anyone of those situations you feel guilty?
> If possible work on plan to deal with the situation head on. It could be a simple apology or following through on the promise that you made. Deal with it now or as soon as you can.
> If it’s not a situation that can be dealt with keep in mind that nobody is perfect, even our friends and family members who often appear to lead perfect lives. You and I make mistakes and many of us go down a path that can make us feel guilty. Let’s be honest. It’s not worth battering yourself with self-blame because you should’ve acted differently, been the ideal person in that situation or you should of known. The key is to realize the mistake and accept that you’re human. True story.
> Do something today, burn the paper that your holding, rip it up, talk to a close friend or do what is significant to you and draw a line in the sand. Choose to rise above the guilt that is holding you back.
In finishing, I hope this helped you recognise that guilt holds us back more than we realise, and we need to learn from the past but also put it to rest. Lets look forward to a future that is exciting without it.
We will chat some more Friday.
When you bring peace to your past, you can move forward to your future.