Blog / News from Bev

How To Stop that Guilt Ridden Feeling!

Date : April 11, 2016

GUILT!!

 Guilt: “The gift that keeps on giving” was what Erma Bombeck called it. “Guilt to motherhood is like grapes to wine” was a quote by Fay Waldon. And that quote really hit home!

It reminded me of the time, I gave birth to my first baby girl. She was so perfect, and at that moment, I felt a totally responsible to keep her that way a daunting task for anyone.

When you’re a parent, guilt seems to come with the job. It’s natural to want to protect your children and see them flourish, but if they don’t – even if you’ve tried to help them, and advised them many times, if nothing worked, the first thing every parent says is: “What did I do wrong?”

Guilt! I’ve seen it lead to depression. It’s caused many emotional and even physical problems. Marriages have dissolved, and relationships severed, all because of the tremendous burden of carrying the weight of guilt.

Who hasn’t felt guilty? Guilt is the emotion that keeps you in check. It provides a moral compass; sets boundaries, rules to live by, but if you’ve had a strict upbringing, as an adult, you may set your standards too high and judge yourself too harshly. And that’s where the problems arise.

Every day you’re bombarded with messages to make you feel guilty not calling a sick friend, not driving an aging parent to the doctor. You’re told how you ‘should’ feel, how you ‘should’ look, how to raise your children and if you don’t live up to the expectations of others guilt.

It’s easy to feel inadequate or ashamed, but you can’t take back your actions.

How to Relieve Guilt

Feeling guilt-ridden only makes you miserable, and nothing more. So here’s how to stop feeling guilty and prevent the uncomfortable emotion in the first place.

Take Power:

Think of the situation that’s giving you guilty feelings. Ask yourself why you feel guilty, and how you can change these feelings . Stop agonizing and wallowing in guilt and do something about it! It is up to you to take action. It may be difficult to be sure, but taking power over any situation will relieve your guilt.

Rigorous Honesty:

Once again, think of a situation that brings on that guilty feeling. If a demand was placed on you, ask yourself this if there was no judgment, and you didn’t comply with the request, would you really feel guilty? ‘Probably not.’

It’s judgment of others that make you feel guilty, but if you’re truly honest, you’ll find that whatever was demanded of you, was not something you wanted, or could do in the first place.

Admit It :

Making mistakes are all part of learning. If you’ve made mistakes, learn from them. Feeling guilty won’t make what happened better. If you feel apologies are necessary, say them. Resolving issues is a sure-fire way to relieve guilt.

Regret :

Reflect on what went wrong and have regrets. When you regret your actions and take ownership of them. You’re not a victim. Guilt turns you into a victim, but being regretful, apologizing and taking ownership of the situation demonstrates true remorse.

Feeling guilty is a normal human emotion that puts all of us in check, but it is NOT your birthright.

It does not have to consume you and it doesn’t need to be ‘the gift that keeps on giving’. You have a choice to simply do the best you can, regardless of the opinions of others. But be assured, that if you’ve done your best with what you have, you can have regrets, but there’s no reason ever to shoulder the burden of guilt.

Some guilt free care-giving tips because you need a break too.

What are some things that make you feel guilty?

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Written by

Beverley Glazer MA., ICCAC., is an eternal optimist, who in addition to coaching and giving women empowerment to unleash their personal and professional strengths, is a therapist, addiction specialist, speaker and consultant, for over 26 years.