The definition of guilt is: an experience that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard. My working definition is: the bad feeling a person has when they believe they should be doing something else.
So many people seem to carry around guilt as a badge of honor. When they’re at work, they feel they should be at home, when they’re at home they feel they should devote more time to work. The operable word here is “should”.
Whenever you use “should” you’re not taking responsibility for your own choices. Somehow you’re giving your power to someone else. It’s that little voice in your head that may come from your parents, teachers, mentors, family, friends, etc. The point being, it’s someone else’s agenda for you – not your own.
Here’s some steps to have guilt disappear.
1. Pick an agenda. Decide what you will do each and every day. Part of your day may be spent on work, on a hobby, with your family, doing chores, reading a book. Make a conscious choice about how you are going to spend your time.
2. Allocate the time. How you spend your time reflects your values. You can quickly see what a person’s priorities are by how much time they devote to each aspect of their lives. Make sure your time reflects what is most important to you.
3. Choices. We can’t be in more than one place at the same time. You may want to work late and attend your son’s soccer game, you can’t do both. Weigh the choices and choose.
4. Own it. Taking full responsibility for each choice alleviates the guilt. You can’t make a mistake. Whatever you choose at the time, is always the right decision then. You may make a different decision another time – life is fluid.
5. Present. Whatever you’re spending your time on, be in that moment. You’re not thinking about the past or the future, just the right now. Notice all the details, appreciate the sights, sounds and smells around you. Fully engage in the conversation. When you’re 100% in the present moment, there is no room for anything else.
Guilt is a useless feeling that serves to make you feel bad. Guilt doesn’t excuse your actions. If you choose to eat that piece of chocolate, savor and enjoy every bite – and keep a smile on your face when you think about how great that tasted!
When you’re following your own agenda and taking full responsibility for your choices, guilt disappears.
What’s been your experience? Do you have guilt in your life? How is that serving you? Leave a comment below.
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