There are many profound quotes around the emotion of guilt.
- Guilt is to the spirit, what pain is to the body ~ Elder David A. Bednar
- Guilt is anger directed at ourselves for what we did or did not do ~ Peter McWilliams
- Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death ~ Coco Chanel
- Guilt is always hungry; don’t let it consume you ~ Terri Guillemets
Then there is the dictionary definition:
- a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offence, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
To me, whilst they are all valid, they don’t give huge scope to identifying and shifting the feeling within.
Guilt for me has featured in many parts of my life, but none compare to the guilt we can put on ourselves as parents. When I decided to follow my heart and part ways with the father of my kids the guilt that followed was immense. Basically I wondered if I had completely screwed up these perfect little humans for life with my “selfish” choices.
But guilt comes in many forms and it doesn’t need to be a big scenario such as mine in order to trigger it. Guilt is either when you yourself feel you haven’t lived up to your own values and morals OR; that of someone you have allowed to have power over how you see yourself.
How many of us feel guilty for eating dessert? For flirting with that person at work? For drinking too much on a night out? For not making it to the kids assembly because you had to work? For accidentally sharing information about someone you weren’t supposed to? For saying not so nice things about others? For not helping those who have looked out for you? For living in a nice house when your friends and family may not? And so on and so on…
And that is just what we do to ourselves. What about the dynamics in which we allow others to project their ideals onto us and if we don’t live up to them we feel guilty for “letting them down” or “not making them proud” or whatever else they try and pull over you and you allow yourself to take on.
I know I have had to check myself as a mum when I have pulled the whole “You will do as I say – I went through 28 hours of labour for you!” bullshit. Or as a partner the more subtle “even though I have slaved away all day cooking and cleaning and looking after the kids – sure go out with your mates”. All along hoping the passive aggressive guilt trip will do the trick and he would indeed stay home and help. Not surprisingly, it never worked.
Although these types of dynamics can be tricky to navigate as always, the most powerful thing we can ever do to neutralise such a ‘dis-ease’ as guilt is to look to our own internal environment.
Our internal environment is all about layers. The lens or perception that we look at situations in our environment colours everything we do. Whether you are aware or not. If you are operating in fear you will consistently behave in reactive ways to stimuli instead of being thought out and responsive. Many of us know this, but boy-oh-boy when a strong low vibrational energy comes in such as guilt, how many of us sit in that energy. Think about it. Entertain it. Dissect it. Imagine different scenarios around it. And blame, shame and bash ourselves up for not doing better in the first place.
But that is ok. Because this space is the exact place of power. When you are guilting yourself for something; anything – start small – maybe having two pieces of cake at the birthday party, or forgetting to ask your friend how the first day at their new job was – STOP. And tell yourself this new truth.
Guilt is beneficial. That is right! It is not BAD. It is necessary. It is there to show you that the situation involved does not align to who you are. The purest form of you. Your soul. It is purely a little life lesson that instead of feeding with self- shaming behaviours and begging for forgiveness; you just simply need to acknowledge, show some compassion and take steps to alter the outcome in future similar situations.
Acknowledging your emotion of guilt for what it is, is beyond powerful. I have done a lot of work around this with my separation and subsequent unsuccessful romantic relationships. Yes I made mistakes but I am learning. We never stop learning and growing. And mostly I have learned to see guilt as an integral part of my own internal compass that is guiding me to lead the life I truly desire to live.
In every possible way.
Love and light, Michelle xxx