Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.
This is one of those tips that is far deeper than can be addressed in a mere few paragraphs but I’ll introduce the idea of releasing the guilt that doesn’t belong to you as something that will increase your overall sense of well-being.
By definition, guilt is the result “of having committed a specific or implied offense” and/or “make (someone) feel guilty” and while I could talk for several minutes about the semantic of “making someone feel”… guilt is an appropriate emotion when we INTENTIONALLY offend someone or commit an offense.
It’s fair to feel bad when someone we care about is hurting and if an accidental behavior on my part generated the emotional harm then I am deeply sorry but do not hold ‘guilt’ once I apologize. Accidents happen. When we accept responsibility for the damaged feelings of another and the damaged feelings are because ‘of something we purposefully did’ then guilt is what keeps us in check but far too many of us accept guilt when it is not OURS to own.
Too many people fail to communicate expectations and then charge us with having committed an offense – imparting feelings of guilt. If we don’t know we are supposed to meet a standard – or expectation – and we offend someone we need not ‘own’ feelings of guilt. We need to learn to release feelings of guilt when they are erroneously associated with behaviors that are unintentional, with unexpressed expectations, untruths, or unreasonable demands.
- Your friend says “you never go out with me.” and you feel guilty because he’s feeling bad… but that statement is probably untrue. Release the guilt.
- Your sister say “you didn’t get me a birthday present?” and you feel guilty because she is disappointed… you feel guilty but it was an uncommunicated expectation. Release the guilt.
- You can’t remember where you put your husband’s car keys and now he’s late for work. He’s mad and you feel guilty. It was an accident; release the guilt.
- You don’t accept an invitation to a bachelorette party in Vegas because your budget simply cannot handle the extra expense. Someone suggests you aren’t a good friend and you feel guilty. It is an unreasonable demand; release the guilt.
Use visualization techniques to release guilt… imagine writing it on a chalkboard and then erasing it. Imagine writing it on a paper and then tearing it to shreds. Imagine it is contained in a ball and throw it in the ocean. Imagine it as a word in your hand and watch it evaporate or disintegrate. No matter what image you conjure or what technique you employ, the secret to improving your overall sense of happiness is to…
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