Believe it or not feeling guilty can be extremely sabotaging to your everyday life. It may feel like the right thing to do to feel guilty about something, if perhaps you didn’t feel guilty about what you ate, drank, said, thought, does that mean that you don’t care? If you feel guilty on a regular occasion it will take over your life as you are unconsciously always worrying and ultimately it’s an embedded fear about an outcome or result of something. For example, fear of not being liked, fear of not being loved, fear of not being accepted, fear of not being wanted, fear of being lonely. The list is endless!
The other day you said a comment to someone and walked away thinking over in your mind “oh why did I say that?” “what must they be thinking” “I hope I didn’t upset them”. When you play over in your mind something that is in the past, you are wasting your personal energy and more time could be focussed in the present, being more productive with your thinking and feeling more positive as a result.
Here are some tips on how you can whip those guilty thoughts into more productive and useful thinking patterns:
1. When you find yourself re-playing a certain situation and feeling a sense of guilt or unease, close your eyes and play the scenario in your mind but change something in the picture. Make it funny so if it involves a person, imagine you are talking to Mickey Mouse or any other fictitious character that you can think of. Then make the cartoon character smaller and smaller until they completely disappear!
2. If you are feeling guilty about something you did, try and find something positive about the action so for instance if you are feeling guilty about eating or drinking something, or perhaps you made a purchase on impulse and now feel awful about it! You can’t change the past! Look at the positive aspect of it. For example if you had a piece of chocolate, tell yourself it’s ok and that it tasted amazing, know that you really enjoyed the moment and give yourself permission. All the time you waste wishing you could change the past builds up more negative energy and makes you want to repeat the same pattern again.
3. Forgiveness is so important in order for you to move on and should be done as often as possible. You may often relate forgiveness as something that involves others, however it’s equally important that you are able to forgive yourself. The relief you get from simply letting go of your personal affliction is extremely powerful and the more you do this, the better you will get at it. When you carry around burdens, you are punishing only yourself and that only makes you feel worse.
4. Wherever you are in the world there is always time to stop and clear your mind. The easiest way to do this is to think of a blank canvas. If you can close your eyes and imagine that you are looking at a blank page or canvas. Notice the thoughts that come in and gently let them go. All the time you do this, you are exercising you conscious muscle. When you are completely in the present, your thoughts don’t exist. Gets better with practice!
5. It’s good common practice to write stuff out and I have been doing it since I was 11 years old. I started writing diaries when I was very young and for the last few years have been a big advocate of affirmations. Writing stuff out is extremely powerful and has worked very well with my clients, but also it’s a really good way of releasing your fears, worries, concerns, issues etc. Offload onto paper and then put it in a place where you can forget about it. Your body will always want to release feelings of negativity and these manifest themselves through stress, anxiety, sleepless nights, and constant worrying. If you can write out your “stuff” it’s like having a good spring clean!