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August 10, 2017

Guilt is the New Black—Are you Ready to Kick the Habit?

Do you say “yes” when you really want to say “no”?

What about letting people treat you in ways you don’t like because you’re too afraid to set a boundary?

Perhaps you’re still beating yourself up for some mistake you made 10 years ago? Whatever the case may be, if these things resonate with you, I’m willing to bet that we can find some link to the guilt epidemic buried within.

There’s a real paradigm in our society where we say “yes” when we want to say “no,” and we don’t stand up for ourselves because we feel obligated to others and need their approval. We are conditioned to base our worth around what everyone else thinks!

Perhaps you’ve found yourself in this loop: if you say “no,” you feel guilty and afraid based on some fear of rejection or not being loved, which all boils down to self-worth. Your mind tells you things like, “They’re counting on you, they need you, they will be mad at you, you owe them, they won’t love you, you’ll be all alone…”

Does this guilt sound familiar? I know, for me, it was a prevalent theme of my life until I rewrote the narrative.

Now, here’s another one that haunted me for years: the pattern of holding onto a mistake from the past. Why do we find it so hard to let go? We beat ourselves up endlessly.

I ask myself this: did I learn from my error? Yes? Then move on. No? Then, I probably need to feel guilty, or perhaps I can use that sh*tty feeling to motivate myself to change—or not. And I just continue to wallow in the self-loathing that comes with guilt.

If you battle the guilt mantra, ask yourself:

Do you still act in the way that you did that you feel guilty for? No? Great, then why are you till beating yourself up?

Chances are it’s your ego doing what the ego does—setting impossibly high perfectionistic standards of living for you and everyone else in order to keep you feeling bad about yourself so you don’t tap into the infinite divine love that is your true essence and a direct threat to the ego. Your ego thrives on the idea of you being a unique, separate, and disconnected entity from others, so it will do all it can to keep you feeling isolated.

I only share this from my own experience and understanding of how my ego works to separate me from you.

Here’s where we get a little touchy.

If our answer to the last question was “yes,” and we still act in the way we feel bad about acting, then we probably earned the feelings of guilt because we are choosing to continue behaving in a manner that makes us feel horrible and doesn’t align with who we truly are. We usually do this out of fear.

If we suffer from some addiction, compulsion, or some other seemingly uncontrollable behavior, then we can seek help. That’s our choice. But, continuing to choose a compulsion out of fear, and then wallowing in the guilt of feeling horrible, is a vicious cycle that keeps us trapped in victim mindset.

There is no change to be had there until we make a decision to step into the fear of the unknown and make those changes. I know this because I did it.

The kicker is we have to commit to it—and we’re going to need help!

Here’s the thing I’ve come to understand about guilt:

It is a life sucker. Guilt will just eat us alive—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s such a challenging one to work with because, in today’s world, we are taught to feel guilty about everything. We are taught that we need to live according to the expectations and life rules of others which divert us from who we truly are.

We feel guilty when we say no and when we say yes. When we don’t meet the high demands and expectations of those around us, including (especially) the unreasonable ones we place on ourselves. We spend so much time creating beliefs around what is “right” and “wrong” and then more time beating ourselves up for the “wrong.” It’s an endless vortex of soul-sucking energy.

How about we forget “right” and “wrong” and just live well.

Guilt is intended to be felt when we actually do something that’s messed up. The other guilt, the one we’ve been programmed to carry, is a distorted version of this.

We can examine why we feel the need to live by someone else’s standards when we feel guilt over being true to ourselves. Please don’t misunderstand me, there are horrible things that happen in the world, but the things we label as “wrong” and feel guilty for, are merely shadow elements of our darker natures that come out in extreme ways because we are taught to suppress them.

It’s normal to feel guilt when we do something that goes against our own moral code, but holding on to it will make us sick. Transmute guilt with forgiveness. When we forgive ourselves for our transgressions, we become much less judgmental and much more forgiving towards the errs of those around us. We don’t have to condone the dark things people do, I’m just saying that when we stop carrying judgment on ourselves, we don’t feel the need to judge anyone else.

The secret is this:

When we stop judging ourselves and we accept ourselves for who we are in all of our divine imperfection, guilt floats away like a cloud on a windy day. If this resonates, the questions to ask yourself are:

Why do I think I need to be perfect? Who says I can’t make mistakes? Why do I feel like I must please everyone and not myself?

Start there. If you really dig into these questions you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been carrying underneath the surface for all these years.

If you really want to start living a guilt-free life, you first have to admit that your guilt paradigm exists and that’s it’s a problem. Then you have to choose to try something new. Then you have to commit to making the changes no matter what.

It takes work and it won’t happen overnight, but if you really want it, you can make it happen. I did! That’s exactly how and why I ended up on the path that I did—to show the world that we can heal together by talking openly about the darker aspects of life that hold us back.

Much love everyone! For a bonus live stream on guilt click here.

~

Author: Lindsay Carricarte
Image: Kariiiiii/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman

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Lindsay Carricarte  |  Contribution: 24,220