.Guilt is an internal negative state or emotion that is connected to an action that does not align with your true values or goals.

It is a perception that you have caused suffering, hurt or harm.

Guilt can be positively useful only if it is placed onto appropriate situations, in appropriate proportions, to help someone remedy possible wrongs, apologising for things and/or create a change in behaviour.

Guilt becomes a dysfunctional emotion once it is placed onto situations, issues, objects and oneself, in an excessive and disproportionate way.

Consequently, your thought process  and perspectives become distorted with a focus towards the negative actions that you ‘need’ to feel guilty for.

Helpful vs Unhelpful Guilt

Helpful guilt and unhelpful guilt, why do I feel guilty, how do I stop feeling guilt

The feeling of guilt can be a very helpful tool for you when something has gone wrong, however it can be very unhelpful when you have an all-or-nothing, or perfection mindset.

Unhelpful or unhealthy guilt is the horrible feelings of guilt when you have done something against unrealistic expectations or high standards.

When you experience unhelpful guilt it can lead to you punishing yourself and traps you in the feeling of guilt and shame.

Guilt offers a lesson to be learned, to better yourself and your future.

Having helpful or healthy guilt is discomfort for something that you’ve done that is realistically and objectively wrong.

Healthy guilt can be a positive feeling as it allows you to seek forgiveness and correct a wrong.

This in turn leads to healing and moving forward; then the feelings of guilt can be released.

Negative Guilt Wastes Your Time and Energy

Wasting time feeling guilty, guilt and wasting time, guilt and low energy,

What do you feel guilty for?

How many times in a day to you feel or hear the negative voice of guilt?

When guilt shows up appropriately as your moral compass, then it is helping to guide you towards living up to your values and ethics.

The unfortunate reality is that guilt, for many of you, has become an energy-sucking parasite, feeding off your self-esteem and self-worth, numerous times in a day, in a vicious cycle.

By doing this, it is creating feelings of:

  • Not being good enough;
  • Not doing a good enough job;
  • Feeling like a failure;
  • Not living up to expectations;
  • Not being worthy or deserving;
  • Feeling helpless and hopeless, or
  • Lacking control or motivation.

By using up so much time, energy and focus on your perceived ‘inadequacies and failings’, the guilt parasite is stopping you from creating true change in your life and having the energy to live your full potential.

You can continue to waste your time and energy on something that will stop you from changing, or you can focus your energy towards:

  • The positives in life;
  • Your achievements and lessons learned, and
  • Creating your best life for yourself.

Related: Shame – A Shared Experience

Self-Talk to Move Away From Guilt Traps

 Improve feelings of guilt, change the way guilt affects you, effects of guilt and overcoming them, self-talk out of guilt

Do you ever get that negative voice in your head?

The one that tells you that you suck at something, or you need to lose weight, or that you’re probably boring the person you’re talking to?

What about when something good or bad happens – are you able to talk calmly and kindly to yourself, congratulate yourself or problem solve?

Of course, nobody is able to do this all the time, but it’s a problem when your self- talk is consistently negative.

It’s important to tune in and recognise when you are speaking negatively to yourself.

Try:

  • Consciously listening, particularly in high stress moments, to the dialogue in your head;
  • Jotting down some of your self talk when you have a chance to evaluate later, and
  • Saying it aloud (possibly best done when alone!)

Then it’s about replacing, discussing or displacing those negative thoughts.

  • Replace common negative thoughts with pre-thought out responses (e.g. Replace “You’re fat” with “I am more than my weight”);
  • Discuss your thought (e.g. “You really suck at dancing” and then asking yourself why you think that and what the point of your dancing is (to have fun, to look good, to feel happy, to get attentions etc.), or
  • Displace your thought (e.g. divert your attention away from the negative thought to something positive about yourself, or a mental image/memory that you find pleasing, soothing or in some was positive).

Changing your self-talk can be quite difficult and can become overwhelming, therefore it is important to keep in mind that support is available.

If you want support to overcome and let go of your feelings of guilt and shame…

Book your FREE 45-minute Discovery Call with Kellee to find out your options.