“Guilt can stop us from taking healthy care of ourselves.” – Melody Beattie
Guilt is like a rock. It sits in the pit of our stomachs and can weigh down our every thought, behavior, and action. It can distract us all throughout the day and keep us awake at night. Our muscles work overtime just to carry it around, and yet we still hold onto it.
It’s imperative that we stop feeling so guilty.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t feel guilt. True guilt is a loving instrument from Spiritual Guidance used to convict, correct, and conform your character when you go astray. True guilt is your friend, a Spiritual companion that whispers truth and motivates you to reconcile and seek forgiveness.
Much of the time, however, the things we feel guilty about are not our issues. Another person behaves inappropriately or in some way violates our boundaries. We challenge the behavior, and the person gets angry and defensive. Then we feel guilty.
Guilt can prevent us from setting the boundaries that would be in our best interests—and in other people’s best interests. Feeling guilty can distract us and rob us of the precious resources we need to take care of ourselves.
While there is friendly, helpful guilt that helps us stay true to our path and moral compass, the other, more common, lingering guilt is a secret conspirator that taunts and condemns, bringing dishonor and shame. This type of guilt arises when you blame yourself even though you’ve committed no wrong or when you continue to blame yourself after you have repented and righted your ship.
Today is the day to let go of your guilty feelings—big and little. Just like feeling good about ourselves is a choice, so, too, is feeling guilty. When guilt is legitimate, it acts as a warning light, signaling that we’re off course. After we make amends or change a behavior, its purpose is finished, and it’s time to let the guilt go.
What are you holding onto? Have you taken steps to make amends and clear away legitimate guilt? Is your guilt still haunting your every move? If so, try this exercise from author Melody Beattie:
- First thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, look into a mirror and look yourself in the eye.
- Say out loud seven times: “I now release all my guilt, earned and unearned.”
- Do this for week.
- See if your guilt doesn’t disappear.