What are your feelings of guilt trying to teach you?
Guilt is one of those emotions that we often like to push away and none of us likes to sit with. Guilt goes hand in hand with feelings of shame. Those can be really challenging things to acknowledge. However, it’s usually there for a very important lesson or reason that we need to pay more attention to. I usually see it taking one of two forms.
The first may be a situation in which you’re feeling guilty because you hurt someone else. Whether it was intentional or unintentional, you did and if you have hurt someone or betrayed the trust of a loved one, pausing to allow yourself to sit with that guilt and to acknowledge it is actually a really healthy thing. It’s going to help you really manifest a lot of determination to prevent that same thing from happening again. If we are culpable, we do need to pause and acknowledge our own guilt and not just go breezing past it.
The second situation is when someone is feeling guilty on a frequent basis. If this fits for you, I really want you to become more suspicious of your guilt. If you haven’t violated someone’s trust and you haven’t done something bad and you feel guilty on a regular basis often times, that guilt is the result of some distorted thoughts and beliefs. It’s often a situation where you are holding yourself culpable for something that you’re not actually culpable for. When we feel guilty on a regular basis, often times it’s a symptom of us crossing over the street and walking into somebody else’s yard and feeling their feelings for them. It’s when we get a little bit too enmeshed with someone that we love. What we really need to do in those situations is stay on our own side of the street and hold them accountable for their own feelings.
When guilt comes up, it’s usually a distortion. It’s a symptom that you may have some emotional entanglements with someone in your life. You may be holding yourself accountable for things that you’re not even necessarily accountable for. If that’s the situation, it’s always a great time to work with a coach to untangle that because carrying around feelings of guilt and shame on a regular basis is not sustainable for anyone. Regardless of the cause, you always want to look for a way of shifting into a more carefree way of being in your life and in your relationships.
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