If you read the title above and it struck a cord with you then you will know what I mean by guilt can be the most horrid and undesirable feeling to carry around inside your mind, heart and soul.
Whether its because you didn’t for fill a family obligation to your parents or you didn’t go through with those plans with your friends or simply you didn’t live up to your own expectations guilt is a silent assassin and can undo even the strongest of us.
The fact of having committed a specified or implied offense and crime and a feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation.Oxford English Dictionaries definition of ‘noun’ guilt
It is the most tricky thing, it’s often over looked, unseen and frequently unrecognized. Yet it is responsible for waves of emotional turmoil, anxiety, depression, fear and the biggest one self-punishment. It invites you to believe you are wrong doing, being unworthy or not quite enough. It can come up when you feel inaccurately like you haven’t done as much as you could have or when you haven’t lived up to your own standards or have over stepped an invisible mark.
We all can even feel a sense of guilt when accepting emotional or practical support. For example how often do we say ‘sorry’ when we get upset or ask a friend or family for emotional support….. guilt. Occasionally guilt can be projected onto a family members… It can be projected for taking a quiet nap by yourself or going for a stroll or not spending enough time with family members.
There’s feeling guilty for feeling guilty sometimes you can feel guilty for how you spoke or treated a family member forgot a birthday, forgot to call, not doing the right thing by a family member…
A painful feeling of humiliation or distressed caused by the consciousness of doing wrong or foolish behavior or a loss of respect or esteem; dishonor.Oxford English Dictionaries definition of Shame
Guilt is really how you feel inside or about yourself, where as shame is more about how you treated someone or your actions it’s projected on the outside. Guilt can affect you silently and is like an act of self sabotage causing self suffering no one can see it, yet it effects our physically health and mental health. Guilt can create negative patterns and it’s like your in a court room with yourself, your up against you! It’s all caused by to much dwelling on the past and not being in the present.
From Feeling Self-Guilt to feeling Self-Compassion
With anything centered on ‘ones self’ there is always room for a positivity and compassion, you hold the power to change your situation. It is easy to forget this but you have the power to choose to change. The practice of mindfulness and bring awareness to your present moment consciously without judgement can encourage turning down feelings of guilt into compassion and love for yourself instead of self sabotage.
For example, if your sitting there on a relaxed Sunday afternoon feeling guilty for letting time fly by while you watch your show, read a book or tune out for a small sleepy rest on your bed. Those minutes, hours or even whole day may also be spent with a feeling of unease, for not cleaning up the house or doing those chorus. This can easily turn into guilt for not starting or finishing those assigned jobs to be done for taking a moment to yourself to relax.
Simply if you take a moment to bring awareness to the present moment, you can remind yourself you have a choice to either stay in the moment and enjoy your book or go and get your assigned tasks done for the day so you can enjoy the moment without intoxicating guilt. it is an important moment to encourage self compassion, an opportunity for action and understanding.
Rather than viewing guilt as a form of self punishment, try to take some loving responsibility for it, stop judging yourself and see it as a reminder to be more conscious and mindful and self compassionate.
Tips to ease guilt
- Ease guilt – Promote self-care, mindfulness, self reflection, self awareness
- Pause – Ask yourself how am I feeling, acknowledge feelings to lessen there power, meditation (take a deep breath in and out allow yourself and your body to sink into a relaxed state)
- Reflect – Be curious about your emotions (try practice not judging yourself for it, with eyes open or closed reflect on your feelings), what your experiencing is just a feeling not who you are, you are human its normal to go through emotions. If you wish to put your thoughts and emotions into words writing them down can be very therapeutic and help ease guilt.
- Re frame – If you receive misleading messages about guilt from your mind, recognize it as incorrect and label it as a false alarm, ignore it as best you can and refresh your thoughts in a more positive direction.
- Act – Ask yourself what is the most important loving ACTION in that moment – what would my best self do? This may not need physical action but to just give your self some guilt free rest and relaxation to attend that Pilates class or go have a coffee at your favorite cafe, you’ll know you’ll love it once you get there. Remembering that guilt is an emotional response to negative thought patterns and its often about yourself. Prioritize self care, self compassion, mindfulness and you might notice the difference that comes with these simple practices when it comes to your relationship with guilt.
I would love to hear your thoughts on Guilt its a subject that affects all of us one way or another, have a wonderful guilt free day, week or weekend you deserve it! Cassie xo