I had a client many years ago who told me that every morning when she woke up she would repeat in the mirror, “I haven’t done anything wrong.” I was startled by the admission. She explained that she had problems with feeling guilty. I was working as a financial advisor then and wasn’t equipped to help my clients work through personal and emotional journeys. Even then I dreamt of life coaching. I thought I would create a niche for myself as a financial and life coach. That’s about ten years ago, and I realize now, I wasn’t ready then. I needed to change and grow in my own life and gain my own wisdom before attempting to help others change theirs. It’s funny how all of these things have come full circle. Now I know I’m profoundly capable of helping others move through their life journey.
When I was a Freshman in college I read a book called, “The Art of Thinking” by Vincent Ruggiero for a Critical Thinking course. Prior to reading the book, I thought other people’s thought process was similar to my own. I was fascinated by the idea that all individuals process information differently based on the context of their lives and their own unique personalities. Thinking is a distinctive process for each of us.
Yesterday the topic of guilt came up with one of my current life coaching clients. It’s fascinating that some people can commit horrific crimes and justify them to the point they feel absolutely no guilt. Typically we call these people sociopaths. On the other hand, if you were raised Catholic, like me, you know that guilt is the potato in the stew – the main ingredient. (Vegan stew of course – lol!) All jokes aside, many of us have feelings of guilt when we haven’t done anything wrong. It may be part of religious or family conditioning as a child, or as a result of some trauma. Or, most likely, a combination of a number of factors.
It seems to me guilt is a form of anger directed at yourself, much like depression. (I’ve experienced depression, so I know it’s real. It doesn’t mean its not also a thought process around anger.) With guilt, we see a perceived character flaw or obligation and we become angry with ourselves. (I don’t want to go to dinner with my coworkers because I’d rather stay home and rest.) The punishment? Internal self-flagellation. (The internal voice repeats: you know you SHOULD. People are DEPENDING on you. What right do you have to self-care, rest, etc.? You’re being LAZY.) What is the benefit to these feelings of guilt? Much like anger, there are none, it’s just a deeply entrenched habit. (I’ll talk about anger and depression in future blogs – they definitely need their own spotlight.)
Anyone who knows me knows I love going to sweat lodge out here in Atlanta. The next one is November 9. Here’s the link to my meetup group if you want to check it out: https://www.meetup.com/Black-Vegan-Life/ The lodge guru always gives us the affirmation, “I deserve the best of everything.” I struggled with this mantra. Who am I to deserve the best? Maybe I just deserve enough, or mediocrity or maybe I don’t actually deserve anything. Who am I to say I’m out here deserving things? After a while, it occurred to me, who am I to say I don’t deserve the best? If not me, then who? I’m a human being on the planet doing the best that I can each day. Why shouldn’t I DESERVE the best? I may not always ATTAIN what I want, but it’s fair to say I deserve it.
So today, I leave you with this – anger and guilt are not your friends. You can never feel joy and guilt simultaneously – The same is true for anger. They are also not productive. All kinds of positive changes have been and will be made in this world through love, compassion and focus – NOT through anger and guilt.
Let that wash over you like a gentle rain.
You can accomplish ALL you want and more through positive energy and emotions.
You don’t have to feel bad to do good.
I wish you all Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. Attached is a link to a good article on releasing unwarranted guilt from your life. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201506/9-ways-talk-yourself-out-unnecessary-guilt The photo is a sneak-peek at my weekly inspirational meme. I think it’s a good affirmation for releasing guilt. Look out for affirmation candles and other personal growth products in my online store this week and schedule a FREE consultation if you think life coaching might make sense for you!