It seems like too many people are fixated on feeling guilty for things they're not being accused of.
Feeling guilty is often another form of making assumptions about how someone may, has, or does feel.
Stop making assumptions.
Learn to ask questions.
Anxiety and guilt is a state of limbo.
Getting honest answers is the only way to feel secure in your choices.
If you're always feeling guilty, maybe somehow you are.
And if you're guilty, what are you guilty of?
Who is the judge?
Who is the jury?
Is it consequential?
Does it matter?
What are you afraid of?
Is it real?
Is that how you feel about yourself or it is someone else's voice in your head?
Do you trust your own decision-making?
If you don't trust your decision-making then why not? Because I can't see someone who trusts their choices as someone who would feel guilty about them.
I understand that feeling guilty can be, and often is, a conditioned or trauma response. If so, talk to your therapist about it. Take the steps to regain control of your life and to trust yourself.
Social pressure can be a parasite without self-love.
This feeling of guilt, however, is rampant, and is not being addressed. Frankly, it's annoying how much it's glossed over. Pull yourself out of autopilot by charting what you say or having a friend hold you accountable for the use of the word.
There is no shame in being self-focused. You're the only person you'll spend 100% of your life with.
Self-focused is very different from self-absorbed, yet we conflate the two and assume that making a choice for ourselves is self-absorbed. Often labeled by the vague word "selfish."
The word "selfish" is a control mechanism when someone doesn't see your behavior as something that suits their needs in a neat and clean fashion. They need to do hard work. You being "selfish" ruins they're shortcut to the faux-feeling they want to achieve.
Guilt can also be self-serving to protect an image.
"I feel so guilty that I hurt you" I couldn't get away with it.
"I feel guilty for being honest" Because secrets end well.
"I feel guilty for making that choice" Yeah, I don't know why you didn't burst into flames just now.
Guilt can come from a fear of facing a conflict, reality or perceived consequence. Likely because we've already mapped out what we think that conflict will look like and it's "uncomfortable."
A decision based solely on fear will always be a self-absorbed choice. A self-focused choice is made in the face of fear. It's impossible to serve fear and another person's needs at the same time. Facing fear levels you up to coach or challenge others when they need you.
All that said, none of this is easy. But I'm also not hearing tough love or tough questions around the topic. I'm challenging you to get out of autopilot.
The rest is on you.
Molly and I have been obsessed with the show Catfish lately, and it's likely because there is a ton of social neurosis to unpack. Guilt being one of those common feeling that comes up in a variety of forms. Sometimes it's guilt for getting caught, sometimes it's not realizing the effect you had, sometimes it's not pursuing what you want for fear of the reality being different than expectations. Sometimes it's about not realizing the level of control someone has in our lives.
Guilt is seemingly a part of our every day neurosis. We've accepted that feeling guilty is a normal part of life and it certainly is, but what isn't normal is continuing to feel guilty. Especially when we're feeling guilty over every day non-consequential things. There's likely something else to explore there. Are we actually guilty of something? Maybe our guilt is real but it's misplaced. Perhaps we're judging ourselves by the wrong standard. Perhaps we're simply not trusting our own ability to make the decisions we need to make.
One of the challenges I wanted to talk about on this episode is how we tend to brush off this feeling of guilt as something that "just happens" or something that shouldn't be addressed in a larger scale or timeline. Guilt can be a gateway drug to being controlled. Guilt can be what is keeping us from transition. Guilt can be holding us back from going for what we want. Guilt can be an excuse to avoid conflict and actually holding others back because you refuse to be honest.
As you can tell by my tone, this episode is a bit of a tough love episode. I'm here to challenge you to get out of autopilot and make the change you want to make. I'm here to encourage you but the rest is up to you.
If you're interested in coaching, support, or have any questions send me a DM @letsgocnote