Guilt Part 2: What Do I do With My Guilt?
When you have thoughts of guilt, your first job is to ask yourself if you really did something wrong. Who says it is wrong? Is it the law, is it a longheld family rule, is it a made up story in your head? Getting to the source of the standard for your behavior is really important. This can get a bit fuzzy because several systems exist by which we measure right and wrong. Based on the standard you live by, is the reason you are experiencing guilt justified? If not, let the guilt go. Breathe in deeply. As you exhale release the tension in your body and tell yourself to let the guilt go. There is no point in hanging on to it. Visualize it dissipating into the atmosphere. You may need to go through this process again and again to fully release yourself from the guilt every time it comes back. Eventually it will go away. The less time you give the thought to take hold in your brain, the easier it is to let it go.
If you have committed an infraction, acknowledge it. Say you are sorry to yourself and anyone who may have been hurt by your action. (This is assuming you are sorry. If you’re not, look at why.) Be clear in your acknowledgment of your hurtful action. “I recognize when I said those nasty words to you they were hurtful. I am sorry I said them and I am sorry I hurt you.” In seeking restitution you would add, “Is there anything I can do to make this right?” Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn’t. And the final piece is what’s your plan for the future to seek to not hurt this person again? “I recognize I have a biting tongue. I am committed to working on this part of me and getting to the source of why I do this. I have setup an appointment with a counselor to work on my hurtful words.”
Guilt is a big topic so look for Part 3 next week!