Do you think about things you should have done, could have done, and would have done if it weren’t for the blah blah blah reason?
Do you normally feel guilty for things you’ve done or failed to do?
Is it your habit to worry about the quality or quantity of the work you provide to others?
If all the above applies, you may understand what guilt is and how it affects you.
Whether you are aware of your guilty feelings or you’ve been operating under guilt and blame completely unaware of its impact - it’s time to let go of the guilt and find new and better ways to function.
There are two ways that guilt shows up in your life:
Using guilt is a flawed way to express your needs or to manipulate others. Using guilt as a tool or a weapon, causes others to operate out of fear, anxiety, or threat. Those who support you when you use guilt to pressure them are not being treated fairly or supporting you from a place of love. They are likely doing what you want to avoid a negative consequence. This isn’t anything to be proud of. This is manipulation.
If you are completely aware that you are using guilt to get others to do what you want or act how you want, it’s time to stop. If you weren’t fully aware, but have a suspicion this could be you, let’s look at better ways to engage others:
- 1Be honest - If you legitimately need help or support, be honest. Sharing your needs isn’t hard. Be open and honest with others without using guilt to get their buy-in.
- 2Be helpful - People love to reciprocate. The law of reciprocity ALWAYS happens. If you are as eager to help others as you are to ask for help, you won’t need to use guilt as a motivator.
- 3Be consistent - People prefer to engage with others when they can predict their behavior. Be honest, helpful, and consistent in your relationships and you won’t need guilt as a tool to manipulate others.
Feeling guilty is a heavy burden. Walking through life with the weight of the world on your shoulders is no way to live. Feeling guilty causes people to operate out of shame or obligation. Guilt-based actions are not always genuine and deplete people of their confidence.
If you are operating under the weight of guilt, you may not be doing things because you want to. You may be unnecessarily suffering, and resolution may be the only thing standing in your way.
If you know that you are working out of guilt in your relationships, it is time to find resolution and restore your confidence. Set new boundaries and refuse to let guilt be the determining factor in how you manage yourself. Let’s look at how you can get rid of guilt and refuse to let it rule your decisions.
- Seek forgiveness
- Be Honest
- Seek help
Whether you did something regrettable or are acting out of a guilt-based fear, it’s time to seek forgiveness. Forgiveness may be needed from someone else or from yourself.
Being honest about your fears, guilty feelings, or worries is the best way to avoid acting out of guilt. Being honest lets the process of healing and restoration to co-exist with something that isn’t ideal and avoid a guilt-based lifestyle.
Sometimes guilt has worn grooves into your soul and you need outside help to reconcile things in your mind. Seeing a counselor, or coach will help you work through your guilt and restore your mind.
Guilt is designed to feel threatening and distract you from what is right and important. The sooner you get guilt out of your life, the faster you will enjoy the peace that comes from a guilt-free life.
Guilt will not change the past. Worrying will not change the future.