I want to ask you a question: What would your life look like if you weren’t operating out of guilt? What would be possible for you if this heavy, dark feeling not doing/being/having what you’re “supposed” to, wasn’t bogging you down anymore?
Some emotions, which I call our primary emotions, are very important guiding factors in our life.
Fear for instance helps us survive. We get flooded with these hormones that prompt us into action and into safety. Even when we’re not facing a life-threatening situation, fear helps. As an emotion, it works as a guiding force. The fear of public speaking is a great sign that we’re limiting ourselves and keeping our gifts and knowledge from the world. The experience of that fear guides us to work through our self-limitations and step out of our comfort zone. Women experience fear in many aspects of building their business because it pushes us to let go of past programming about what we can and should be doing.
Fear, if acknowledged and processed, helps us grow and expand in ways we didn’t think was possible for us.
Another great and powerful primary emotion is anger. It gets a bad rap because our culture views the expression of anger with disdain, disapproval and judgement. Honestly though I don’t know one single person who doesn’t get pissed off by something or the other. Do you? Now how we express anger of course is very important but the experience of anger motivates us to make changes. Imagine if you’re working at an unpleasant job with a boss who mistreats you all the time. The anger of not being valued and belittled is the motivation you might need to ask for a change in department (that you always wanted to work in), file a complaint with HR, find another job or decide to build your side hobby into a real business venture. Anger is good.
Anger, when acknowledged and processed, becomes the fuel that propels us to create and make positive changes in our life.
The same goes for other primary emotions, each of which is an important emotion to feel, process and work through so we can be healthy, balanced and bring our best, most creative work to the world. Rejecting our emotional energy is akin to rejecting our entire existence.
Now let’s look at guilt
The Origin of Guilt
Guilt is not a primary emotion. Guilt has no real foundation inside of you. It doesn’t guide you or help you in any possible way. Guilt is a learned response that indicates that we’re not following the rules. We all grew up being taught different versions of right and wrong behaviour. If we tread into the territory of “wrong” , we experience guilt.
Guilt makes us feel inadequate about ourselves. Its a technique to keep people in toe really. And its not pleasant, for anyone who is a self-respecting human being. Its very disorienting to be disconnected from our own inner compass of right and wrong and have guidelines and rules imposed on us from external sources (that might not have our best interests in mind to begin with).
There are physical, emotional and spiritual health risks of feeling guilty about everything and letting it control our lives.
Guilt hits us where it hurts the most: our immune system. Lingering guilt can leave us feeling trapped and anxious, which not only distracts us from enjoying life, but creates a breeding ground for self-criticism that lowers our self-esteem and erodes our confidence.
Now, we don’t have time for that do we?
So what do we do?
Practice radical self-forgiveness every time we step into the guilt-trap. Stop everything and repeat this mantra to yourself:
“I totally and completely forgive myself for ________”
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself (Tweet it)
Then wrap it up with a loving affirmation such as “I love and approve of myself” or “It is safe for me to be who I am.”
Understanding and distilling between emotions that serve us and ones that don’t is a very powerful tool for women both at work and home. In my upcoming online course, I will share my secrets on how to work with our emotional energy and how it doesn’t have to control us and our moods. Sign up below and you’ll be the first to know more.
What do you feel guilty about? What are some techniques you use to deal with it?