Guilt. We’ve all felt it. In fact in my many years of working with clients, I’ve found that guilt is probably one of the top five issues on the planet.
While guilt can sometimes be a legitimate message from our conscience to help us make things right, constant, prolonged or irrational guilt when you haven’t done anything wrong isn’t healthy.
I categorize guilt in two ways -- false guilt and true guilt. Here’s a look at each type. You’ll probably find that you can relate to both.
False Guilt Holds Your Identify and Self-Worth Hostage
False guilt affects many of us, including my wife, Hope. Her life was ruled by false guilt for many years. Hope grew up in a very strict home and she felt pressured to be perfect. She took this too much to heart and for probably a decade she would fret over things on her self-imposed to do list that she couldn’t seem to get to.
This troubled her to the point where she couldn’t stop thinking about how she shouldn’t have done this or that and how she should have stayed on task. The next thing she knew, she was eating chocolate or watching sitcoms, anything to avoid that false guilt. Meanwhile, the things she felt like she needed to be doing were getting pushed back. It was a vicious circle over and over again. She was ruled by guilt.
Over the course of 20 something years there were maybe 5 times when Hope was able to get that to do list completed to her satisfaction, whether real or imaginary or on paper or on her mind. Imagine that -- she felt guilty about being “bad” except for only a handful of days over that many years! That’s what false guilt does. It takes your identity and self-worth and holds them hostage. When you feel that way, you are continually in stress mode -- you have negative thoughts, negative body chemistry and you gravitate toward negative habits and addictions.
True Guilt Can Be Released, But It’s Up To You
On the other end of the spectrum, you experience real or true guilt when you’ve messed up and you need to make amends. This could be something fairly straightforward like making a mistake at work that needs to be corrected or it could be something more insidious where you are crossways with a friend or family member and there is real anger and unforgiveness and you can’t bring yourself to talk to them. Decades can go by with this type of guilt weighing you down and you are basically bringing it upon yourself. You let it go on and on and fester for years because you are afraid of the other person’s response and concerned that they’ll hold it against you.
First of all, this is totally wrong. Resolving these types of issues and making things right is a win for you AND a win for the other person, too. You need to make peace with the fact, however, that you have no control over their response. Now you can certainly hope and pray they’ll respond well, but don’t expect it. Go into it thinking this is not going to suck my energy and keep me from sleeping and gaining weight or feeling stressed out and burdened with regret for the next 10 years. I am going to talk to this person and make it right from my end, and what they do from their end is their business. If they don’t reciprocate, say “bless you, thanks for listening” and move on! When you’ve done your part, it releases you from the guilt.
Confession is one thing that I believe the Catholic Church has gotten right. Confession is not for the other person, it’s for you! It’s to get rid of the guilt, and again there really isn’t a soul I’ve encountered on this planet who isn’t weighed down with some sort of guilt.
You can choose, however, to live in a place where you are at peace and guilt free. But so many of us are ruled by the mindset if I do good, I get good and if I do bad, I get bad. It doesn’t have to be this way. I touch on this quite a bit in my groundbreaking first book, The Love Code: The Secret Principle to Achieving Success in Life, Love, and Happiness. You have a choice! I’ve outlined the key in The Love Code, as well as in a series of free videos available here on my website.
You may be in a place where Hope was for decades where she was burdened with so much guilt and internal junk that she couldn’t choose another way. Her willpower wasn’t enough. What most experts will teach is to simply love yourself. Well, good luck with that because most people can’t love in the first place, especially if they have guilt!
You can be at a place in life where if you do good, you get good and if you do bad, you still get good meaning no guilt, PERIOD! And it’s easier than you think.
In addition to The Love Code, my Memory Engineering and Trilogy core methods will help heal any false guilt that is holding you back. Life is too short to be plagued with guilt. I hope you can finally free yourself from it once and for all!