Issue 4 of The Art of Self Care
In ending the cycle of deprivation, setting boundaries, and effectively communicating your anger, you may experience some resistance by others to your new behaviors and attitudes. The resistance you experience may be a trigger for feelings of guilt and/or shame.
Today we’re focusing on handling these feelings that can undermine and sabotage your success going forward.
Guilt is a helpful emotion when it is justified. It motivates us to learn from our mistakes and make a change when warranted.
Shame is a sense of worthlessness or inadequacy about aspects of ourselves or in our basic nature.
The difference between Guilt and Shame: Guilt is feeling badly about what we do, shame is feeling badly about who we are.
As with any other emotion, it’s not necessarily the feeling itself that is problematic. Rather, it is our response that can have unwanted consequences. Some unhelpful reactions to shame and guilt include:
· Defensiveness, attacking or striking out;
· Relentless pursuit of power or perfection;
· Blaming others;
· Being overly nice or self-sacrificing;
· Withdrawing or hiding.
Unhealthy guilt consumes your emotional strength and leads to resentment and anger (towards yourself or others).
The next time you feel guilty, be skeptical. Is your guilt trying to teach you something rational and helpful about your behavior, or is it just an emotional, irrational response to a situation?
Now it’s your turn:
IF you have done something to hurt or offend:
Step 1: Evaluate the seriousness of your actions/words and the consequences.
Step 2: Take responsibility for what you did or said.
If a friend was responsible, how serious would I consider it?
If someone did it to me, how serious would it be to me?
How important will this experience be five years from now?
Can any harm that occurred be corrected?
Step 3: Apologize sincerely. Do not explain, defend or justify… no ifs, ands or buts.
Step 4: Make amends when possible. Acknowledge the lesson learned.
Step 5: No obsessing over past behaviors… move on.
Step 6: Forgive yourself first.
REMEMBER: Healthy guilt is here to open you up to learning a lesson. Learn from the event.