Guilt is a tricky thing. We rely on it for many things but when it becomes our go to response it can lead you down a spiral that is hard to pull yourself out of.
Guilt was my go to jam for a long ass time. I was really great at finding evidence that would add to my guilty thoughts and feelings. I'd blame myself for how I handled a situation and for not showing up as I needed to. I blame myself for not spending enough time with my kids. I blame myself for working too much. All of these thoughts lead to my guilty feelings.
When you take on guilt, where do you feel it in your body? For me it resides in the deepest pit of my stomach. I picture climbers belaying themselves down into the crevasse that is my belly to extract the guilt like mining for coal.
When I would notice those guilty thoughts come up I learned to use this as my red flag moment! It alerted me to stop and treat it with more curiosity to manage it. What is my brain trying to trick me into believing? Knowing that I want different things from before I need to act, think and feel differently.
Guilt is a good thing because it tells you that you have the capacity to feel. It tells you that you can conjure up empathy for other people. This means you care. This is a great place to start. Now, give yourself a break.
What are your red flag thoughts? The next time one comes up use this red flag moment to stop and make the choice. The guilt can instigate you shutting down and disengaging or it can be clarifying. It can be your reminder that you need to shift your brain.
Let's put GUILT through the KDC model and see what happens.
Know the truth
How do you experience guilt? What happens when it shows up for you? What is your go-to response?
Dare to feel it & look through a different lense
Expect it to happen. Plan for it. Don't judge it, just let it happen.
If you are blaming another person for your guilty feeling, look at the situation from their point of view. Where could they be coming from? How do you think they experience guilt?
Choose what to do
How do you want to feel about guilt? What do I need to believe in order to experience guilt in a non-toxic way?