|Posted on July 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM|
Transforming Guilt through the Power of Gratitude
How often do you “should” on yourself? Do you have perfectionist tendencies and need to get everything done, perfectly correct, every time?
Do you feel that unless everyone else is happy around you, and everything is completed, that you are not able to relax or take time out for yourself?
Being a perfectionist or even having lots of “should” in our life, can create loads of tension and stress in your mind, body and soul. When you feel the need to be perfect and get everything done that you think that you need to, it impacts not only your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, but also takes so much joy and fun out of life. We can become serious and boring, not to mention tense and feel anxious and worried.
Any time that we create “shoulds” it can generate a feeling of guilt.
Guilt can be incredibly damaging not only to our health and wellbeing but especially to our self-esteem, self-confidence and self-belief because when we feel guilty, we may also feel that we should be punished and are undeserving and unworthy because we believe that we are bad and wrong for whatever it is that we have done or not done.Guilt can come in many disguises, it can be that voice in your head that whispers “You shouldn’t eat that”, or “You should’ve called your friend” or “You shouldn’t be late” or “You shouldn’t have said that”.
It can be that sinking feeling in the stomach when we realise the impact of our actions on others, it can be the inner conflict of jugging work, home and kids, and feeling that we are not putting in 100% into all areas, and then the nagging feeling that you want to escape the madhouse and go and have a bath, but little Maggie needs you to read her book to her. It can be the tension in your shoulders when you desperately want to take time out for yourself and rest, and then you look around and see so many things that need to be done. For me personally, I felt that guilt was stamped on my forehead when I had my first baby. Which I’m sure a lot of parents can relate to, and even when we’ve done our very best for our child, in the circumstances and with the knowledge that we had at the time, it can be a feeling of somehow we should have known better, we should’ve known more, and we should’ve done it all different.
Guilt can be created through so many different experiences in life, and can feel overwhelming at times, especially if we feel responsible for making others happy and minimising all of the heartache that the people that we love are experiencing.
Guilt and I seemed inseparable for a long time in my life, it didn’t seem to matter what I did, I felt that guilt was just lurking there in the corner, ready to consume me at any time. I discovered that guilt was a result of feeling extremely conflicted with my values and because everything seemed so important to me, I found it difficult to prioritize anything. For me personally this also came back to a belief that I had that was “I should get everything done, and get it done perfectly” – which of course is impossible. When I started to examine the things that I felt guilty about and what was the side benefit of guilt, I discovered that by feeling guilty, it gave me a feeling of connection with others by feeling that if I couldn’t fix it, or change it, that at least if I felt bad about it, then it showed that I cared about and loved others, by being a martyr and feeling bad.
This also allowed me to drop into self-pity at times, which gave me the side benefit of feeling so sorry for myself, that I would let myself rest to some degree and also connect with myself and how I was feeling. It was an exhausting and incredibly draining and disempowering cycle to be in. I discovered by finding that the highest intention behind my guilt was that I wanted to be doing my best by being the best person that I could be and also helping those that I loved, as well as making a difference in the world, by helping others. When I was able to resolve these inner conflicts and align with Self-Love and start giving love as my soul purpose and realise that anytime I felt guilt it was just a strong indicator of something that I really valued. So if I was behaving in a way that was not congruent with how I believed I needed to be, guilt was just the lighthouse showing me where to go and what to focus on.
It is with that understanding that I was able to drop a lot of the guilt and to feel empowered in making changes to my life and to also recognise how far I had come in many areas of my life. Yes there are still things that need working on, and things that could definitely be better, however by recognising that I am making progress and by being GRATEFUL for where I am at the moment, is the true key to transforming guilt resulting in so much more happiness and joy. I am no longer a victim of my circumstances and I no longer allow guilt to rule my life.
I discovered that guilt was keeping me in a resistant pattern which fed itself literally! So in the life area of health, particularly with food, if I felt guilty for eating a particular food, thinking I shouldn’t be eating this, I would also attach guilt to the action and the behaviour. This made me feel worse, didn’t allow me to enjoy the food, left me feeling unsatisfied and emotionally empty because of the disconnection in self-love that it gave me. Because of that, I would then want more of that same food to try to satisfy the empty feeling inside and to counteract how I was feeling. Then I would feel worse than ever because I would feel even more guilt, and the cycle would continue. All the guilt was trying to show me was that I value my health and taking care of my body is important to me. As soon as I recognised that, I was also able to make the necessary changes, drop the guilt and feel grateful for my health body, and feel grateful for working towards having a healthier body.
I have also found that because of the resistance that guilt produces inside of us, a feeling of guilt can also contribute massively to procrastinating. If I “should” have made a phone call and sorted something out with someone, or “should” have rang a friend to say hello and show them that I cared about them, the more guilt I felt about it, the longer I would put it off. Every time I would go to do it, I would feel guilt, so I would put it aside, try to ignore the guilt and distract myself with something else. Again the guilt was just showing me something that I valued, such as harmony and peace in relationships, and showing those that I love, that I care about them. The guiltier I felt the longer I seemed to procrastinate on it.This can happen in so many areas of our life, and can result in feeling extraordinarily frustrated.
I had a major epiphany one morning, I realised how many things I felt guilty around. I took the time to write a list of all the things I felt guilty about and ended up writing two A4 pages on the things that I “should” do. It ended up being hysterically funny, and I could see the absurdity of all of my thoughts, and how I believed that I needed to be perfect in every area of my life. The truth was that I really was doing ok, I realised that the more I felt guilt around any area of my life, the more that I felt I needed to punish myself, deprive myself and beat myself up, which just kept me stuck and feeling resistant to making any changes. It was exhausting and draining and literally felt like it was consuming me and taking all of the life out of me.
I changed the word “should” to “I am grateful for…… “For example “I should take care of my body” to “I am grateful for taking care of my body”“I should be a better Mum” to “I am grateful for being a better Mum”It was funny because when I read all the new statements out, with being “grateful” instead of “should” the statements were still true and I could find examples in my mind of how they were true.This radically transformed the way I thought about all of the key areas in my life and released so much of the guilt and resistance I had previously felt which naturally lead to a feeling of happiness, gratitude and joy. I realised that I was already doing a lot of the things on my list. And that I could also continue to improve these areas, this time without the guilt attached.
The resulting feeling was one of openness and freedom, and relaxation. It was like I had dropped the weight of the world off my shoulders. I not only felt so much more gratitude for everything that was already in my life, and happy with the way things were, but also excited about the changes that I could make, and how I would continue to grow towards these.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools for transformation that I have ever come across. I cannot emphasize its value enough! It is the key to transforming and transcending negative thought patterns and therefore negative feelings. It gets our mind focused on what we want, what we are grateful for. Being able to come from a place of appreciation for our life and all that is in it, radically transforms our health, emotional wellbeing and will be the driver and projector for all the good things to come into your life. It is absolutely one of the key essential ingredients to utilising the law of attraction and especially when we can get into a feeling of gratitude for what is yet to come into our life and what we desire most.
When we can feel grateful, as if it has already happened, it produces excitement and a feeling of empowerment and upliftment. This literally trains your brain and your body, to believe that the experience has happened which then becomes a powerful catalyst for taking the action required to attain your manifestation.
Categories: Fulfilling Relationships