Let’s talk about
guilt? It’s not a great feeling, is it? By definition, guilt is feeling of
deserving blame for something. Often it’s a good check mechanism and a state of
mind that we want to avoid. It moves us to action and gets us to do “the right
thing”. Think back on your student days. Not doing your homework and lying
about it made you feel guilty. That in turn ensured that you turned in your
homework the next day and kept doing it going forward. Not a bad thing for your
guilt can be a bad thing and something that holds us back from achieving the
things we want out of life. We feel guilty about spending time and money on
growing a side business. We take away precious time from our loved ones to
attend a live event. We don’t get to tuck the kids in at night because we’re
going back to school. It’s easy to fall into the guilt trap even when we know
what we’re doing is important and worthwhile.
In short, like so
many other things in live, guilt can be a positive thing, something that
motivates you and gets you to work towards your goals and things you want to
get done, or it can be the thing that’s holding you back. That’s why it’s
important to pay attention to your feelings of guilt and ask yourself if it’s
productive or if it’s holding you back.
Over the course
of the next seven days we’re going to dig deep and take a look at those guilty
feelings, examine then, and then do something about it if they turn out to be
feelings that hold you back and keep you from loving yourself and doing what
you really want to do.
Here’s the big
problem with guilt. Sometimes it stops you from doing what you want to do as we
discussed already. At other times it’s causing you to hold back and not give it
your all. If you feel bad about missing dinner with the family, you’re not
going to be fully present and committed in that client meeting or the class
you’re taking. The guilt you’re feeling is keeping you from committing fully
and giving it your all.
It’s also taking
a lot of the joy out of whatever it is you are doing. This may not seem like a
big deal at first glance, but it takes a lot of the positive energy and drive
out of your sails. It’s that energy that makes you push a little harder, try a
little longer, and do all the little, seemingly insignificant things that make
all the difference in the end.
The guilt also
gives you an easy excuse to give up. Life isn’t easy and any goal worth
reaching takes work and effort. Sometimes it’s easier to give up than to keep
pushing hard, solve problems, or resolve conflicts we’d rather avoid. That
guilty feeling may be just the excuse you were looking for to justify giving
up. By addressing these feelings of guilt and working through them, you can
greatly improve your chances of reaching those goals and crafting the life you
really want for yourself and your loved ones.