Steps To Dealing With Guilt

June 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

un_love_smlWhat is guilt?

I previously have written about guilt ( but have recently have some additional thoughts on the subject so I have decided to write this post.  Let me start with  Wikipedia’s definition of guilt.

Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that they have violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.

Live Strong ( says guilt is:

*          Feeling of responsibility for negative circumstances that have befallen ourselves or others.
*          Feeling of regret for our real or imagined misdeeds, both past and present.
*          Sense of remorse for thoughts, feelings or attitudes that were or are negative,    uncomplimentary or non-accepting concerning ourselves  or others.
*          Feeling of obligation for not pleasing, not helping or not placating another.
*          Feeling of bewilderment and lack of balance for not responding to a situation in our typical, stereotype manner.
*          Feeling of loss and shame for not having done or said something to someone who is no longer available to us.
*          Accepting of responsibility for someone else’s misfortune or problem because it bothers us to see that person suffer.
*          Motivator to amend all real or perceived wrongs.
*          Strong moral sense of right and wrong that inhibits us from choosing a “wrong” course of action; however, we assign your own definitions to the words.
*          Driving force or mask behind irrational believes.

Guilt that gets us to recognize and correct an “ill” thought or action has a purpose in our psyche by sounding the alarm and by making us uncomfortable asks for reflection and action.

But guilt that comes from us feeling we are responsible for everyone’s lives, or that comes from not fulfilling our misguided feeling of obligation towards others, is very detrimental.

We all struggle to find a balance between our needs and the needs of the people we love.  But none of us are responsible for others’ well being and choices no matter how much we love them. We can always be of service by landing an ear and a hand but every individual makes their own decision.  That is a fact.

Trying to figure out why some of us have tremendous feelings of guilt in our psyche is not that important for this post.  What to do about it is.  So here are a few suggestions:

1 – Look at what is creating the guilt and ask yourself whose problem it really is.

2 – Ask yourself if the guilt you are feeling is helping or worsening the problem.

3 – And here is the most important question to ask ourselves: if I stopped feeling the guilt would the problem change or be solved?  If the answer to this question is the problem would remain the same than it’s not our issue and we should give it back to whomever the issue belongs to.

Trying to live a healthier and more satisfying life involves making changes and while we are in the process of transition we will feel scared and uncomfortable.  So let’s remember that and also realize if we don’t change our response system, life will always stay the same.

  • Winsor Pilates

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