How to Take Charge of Your Guilt

Is guilt running your life? There are so many things that create guilt. You forgot an appointment. You said something that might be unkind. You took time for yourself. You said no. Some people seem to feel guilty about every little thing. Some people feel guilty for being. Is guilt helping you live the life you dream about?

What is guilt?

According to Wikipedia guilt is “…the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. It is also a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes – accurately or not – that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.” An old friend of mine used to say that guilt is an either or proposition – either you’re guilty or you’re not. The true purpose of guilt is to help us live better lives. Guilt can be a great emotion to have. If you do something that harms another or violates a moral standard then guilt helps you modify your behavior. If your child tells a lie, then guilt helps her learn better behaviors.

The three step plan

Here is an easy way to make guilt work for you:
1. You can recognize how your behavior or your words have been harmful
2. Apologize if appropriate
3. Take steps to do better in the future.
You can now let go of the guilt because you no longer need it. Can it be that easy?

How does guilt really work in your life?

red ringing alarm clock

Many people like to hold on to guilt. I like to think of guilt as an alarm clock. When we do something that creates guilt, that alarm clock goes off. Unfortunately, many of us never turn off the alarm. Even if we correct our behavior we keep on feeling guilty. Guilt becomes a life sentence. Over time we create a huge mound of ringing alarm clocks. They are ringing so loud we can’t hear ourselves think.

Where does all this guilt come from?

Some of this guilt comes from early childhood. Did your parents or teachers use guilt to control your behavior? Did you learn to feel guilty when you misbehaved or made a bad grade in school? Did you feel guilty when you failed to please your parents? When you think back to your childhood, do you cringe at all the painful memories? If you have a huge backlog of ringing alarm clocks, you may have trouble using the easy three step plan for guilt.

An easy way to free your self from this backlog of guilt

1. Thank any new guilt for helping your become a better person. Try it. You’ll be surprised.
2. Start using the three step plan for any new guilt.
3. Use the poetry of emotion process to release old guilt from childhood.

If you are tired of all those ringing alarm clocks, you can change your life.

How will your life improve if you let go of all that old guilt?

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(Image: thedarkfrnd @ Flickr 

(Image:Alan Cleaver @ Flickr http://

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