So I have not been one bit excited to write about guilt and shame. I thought about avoiding it all together and moving on to the good emotions but I know that doesn’t serve anyone.
I am having a hard time with these because when I write about emotions I take time to really feel them. And these seem really hard to feel because they don’t feel good at all.
I actually want to avoid them all together. I think that is telling me something (haha).
Guilt arises when we feel like we have done something wrong. It is usually attached to a behavior. The great thing about guilt is that if we feel it and listen to it we can learn from it by not doing that behavior again. Easier said than done of course however if we REALLY felt it and listened to that feeling, we would probably want to avoid it because it doesn’t feel good.
And if we continue the behavior it turns into shame. And shame can be detrimental to our life. As soon as you feel shame, which feels deeper than guilt it is definitely information to stop doing the behavior that is causing you to feel that way.
Just as deep anger turns to hate, guilt turns to shame and can cause us to go into a downward spiral.
You can stop guilt from turning into shame by stopping the behavior that is causing you guilt. If you feel guilty about a one time experience, let it go. There is no need to hold onto guilt. It turns to shame when it is a repeated behavior. For example you may feel guilty when you eat a certain food or you eat too much food. This is one that can easily turn to shame because it is a repeated behavior.
Sometimes we can feel guilty for creating boundaries. We say we feel guilty for saying no to a friend or family member. This is not guilt.
This is only a projection of how we think another might be feeling based on our own decisions. Our friend or family member may feel sad or angry or frustrated if we say no however that is not our emotion. In actuality when we say no, the feeling is relief.
And feeling our own happiness can feel like guilt when we perceive others having a negative emotional response to our behavior.
This is only confusion. It is not ours to take on. It is important not to take on another’s emotion. It’s okay to notice it and take it as information but so-called guilt about how another is feeling is not guilt, it’s confusion.
Everyone has had experiences with guilt and shame. Have you been able to learn from those experiences? Can you share them in the comments below?…it might lessen that not-good-feeling.