Do you often think about the things you should have done, could have done, and would have done? Are you feeling shame for things you have done or have failed to do? I know I do sometimes. This is a form of guilt, of regret. It can weigh you down and stop you from moving forward and doing great things.
It’s time to let go of the guilt and find new and better ways to operate.
There are two ways that guilt manifests in our lives.
Using guilt as a tool or a weapon causes others to act (or react) out of fear, anxiety, or threat of losing favor with you. In this case they aren’t always responding to you then from a place of love and you aren’t being fair to them. They are likely doing what you want to avoid a negative consequence. This is manipulation.
Sometimes we don’t do it with aware purpose. It is sometimes led by our insecurities or our desperation but it’s not a healthy circle. Let’s take a look at better ways to engage others and break the circle.
- Be honest – If you legitimately need help or support, be honest. Sharing your needs from practical to theoretical isn’t hard. Be open and honest with others without using guilt to get their buy in.
- Be helpful – People typically love to reciprocate. 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.
- Be 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 guilt is a heavy burden. Walking through life with the weight of the world on your shoulders is no way to live. Many times feeling guilty will cause people to operate out of shame or undue 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 really doing the things you want to do, living the life you want to.
It is time to seek resolution and restore your confidence. Set new boundaries and refuse to let guilt be the deciding factor in how you manage yourself. Let’s take a look at how you can rid yourself of guilt and refuse to let it rule your choices.
- Seek forgiveness – Whether you did something regrettable or are operating out of a guilt-based fear such as your child suffers because you sought a divorce, it is time to seek forgiveness. Amends may be needed from someone else or from yourself.
- Be Honest – Being honest about your fears, guilty feelings, or worries is the best way to avoid operating out of guilt. Being honest allows for the process of healing and restoration to co-exist with something that isn’t ideal and avoid a guilt-based lifestyle.
- Seek help – Sometimes guilt has worn grooves into your psyche and you need outside help to reconcile things in your mind. Seeing a counselor, coach, or wise counsel will help you work through your guilt and restore your mind.
Guilt is designed to feel ominous and distract you from what is right and important. The sooner you get guilt out of your life, the faster you will enjoy the simple and delightful peace that comes from a guilt-free life. Set yourself free and start loving your life more.