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GUILT - Is it yours? & What are you doing with it?

False Guilt can be really painful/heavy to carry, and toxic to our mental health. As with other heavy items eventually when we're carrying too much of it we'll collapse under the weight of it.

In order to make the load lighter, and our mental health healthier, we need to firstly understand what Guilt is and its purpose.

The Cambridge Dictionary definition of Guilt gives us some clues:

A feeling of worry or unhappiness because you have done something wrong, such as

causing harm to another person"

The nuances of this are often where we get stuck going round in circles with guilt for years.

1) The first nuance is around the perception of wrongdoing. Think of when you may have felt guilty, have there been times when the 'perception of wrongdoing' has not really been yours? clashed with your values? or appears to be the others perception?


2) The second nuance is around Consequence and Self Responsibility

There will be times when an ACTION has an emotional CONSEQUENCE in someone else ie if you are verbally or physically aggressive then the consequence may be fear/anger in the person this is directed to. OR if you betray someone's trust this may have the consequence of sadness/anger etc in the person that the action has been against.

Self Responsibility at this point is around the ACTION and recognition/validation of the CONSEQUENCE. It is an ACTION that had the consequence so it requires ACTION to bring about healing. Remorse for an action, is something that needs to be observed and identified.

3) The third nuance is around timeline and self compassion. Actions and consequences do vary in their time line and extent. This means that the actions and validation will vary in time line too, BUT if we do not apply self compassion that recognises we are humans that make mistakes, our identity and self esteem will begin to disintegrate. Eventually this may lead to defensive behaviours causing further relational damage.

Where we can get stuck in a guilt cycle is when we pick up and keep picking up SOMEONE ELSES FEELINGS followed by the internal action to PUNISH ourselves. Versus the healthy response/ external action of CHANGING BEHAVIOUR and VALIDATING THE CONSEQUENCE

Remember: We can't carry someone else's feeling. External Process versus Internal!

Keep a regular inventory of your GUILT BOOK PILE, are they YOURS?


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