What you need to know about guilt
Patients are always telling me how “guilty” they feel about letting someone down, not returning a phone call, or simply not getting to the gym. What is this thing we call guilt?
From a Self-Coaching perspective, I define guilt as a feeling that you’ve done something wrong. Not getting to the gym, for example, is clearly not doing something wrong, but may leave you feeling guilty and distressed the whole day. So, why do we feel guilty?
Next time you feel guilty, ask yourself an important question: “did I do anything wrong?” Be careful with your answer, because, for example, not calling your mother for a day may “feel” wrong, but that isn’t necessarily the objective truth. It’s up to you to separate yourself from your neurotic “shoulds” and “have tos” and insist on being more objective. Not calling your mother may be a result of being too busy, distracted, or preoccupied, but it is not wrong!
All too often guilt is a cheap shot perpetrated by insecurity. It’s a good thing to be responsible, but it’s a neurotic thing not to have a choice.
#guilt #anxiety #depression