Throughout my professional life, both as a psychologist and in Talent Management, I have never stopped finding people who, with different profiles, personality characteristics and education, accept to be affected by a feeling that produces them; a great discomfort, which becomes very restrictive, to the point that it affects their decisions, their relationships and their experiences.
This discomfort is called “guilt” In addition, he often tends to be cruel to himself.
Did you know that we were born without guilt?
It is important to stress that guilt is a learned feeling. It is something that we learn by imitation, but also by learning by comparisons, demands and failures. that we are living. It begins to develop in childhood to become fully established in adulthood.
Guilt, like other feelings and emotions, is an adaptive psychological mechanism. Its function is to recognize our mistakes and act accordingly, Through adaptation and repair of ducts to prevent damage. In this case, guilt helps us to abide by the rules and codes of ethics necessary for our society. Therefore, it warns us to make mistakes that could have serious consequences.
The problem arises when the guilt becomes inappropriate.
What is maladaptive guilt?
You could say that guilt becomes inappropriate when it becomes a frequent and intense emotion, limiting our thinking (Become a recurring thought) and distort our self-concept.
This guilt is born and grows before the “moral” rules that we have created with our children, partner, friends, work … In such a way that it can greatly affect all areas of our life, the time that joins it, a feeling frustrated with how things affect us that others don’t, or at least don’t seem to.
Do you want to learn how to deal with guilt and get rid of it?
In guilt, it is essential to be aware that the importance is ours. Thoughts and value judgments are ideas, not absolute truths.
The degree of flexibility and tolerance towards the mistakes we make or might make, our ability to accept and learn from them, our empathy for ourselves and others, are factors that affect our interpretations and evaluations. , And who can help us free ourselves from it. guilt in imbalance.
To do this, it is very important that you self-analyze yourself and decide if you want to free yourself from constant guilt as a driving force in your life.
If you’ve gotten to this point, where guilt is the first feeling that comes to you whenever you don’t do something the way you want (or tagged it as ‘wrong’ done), I suggest here you have a number of guidelines that will help you work on it so that you can balance it out, without the emotional exhaustion it generates for you:
1. Take notes
Whenever you feel guilty about something, write it down with what makes it tick. Writing is a therapeutic action which will help you become aware of the way you think and talk to yourself.
2. Learn from your emotions
Take a good look at which events and / or aspects are the ones that hurt and affect you the most. You will realize which events cause this constant feeling of guilt the most (personal relationships, your children, your job, etc.).
3. Learn to take a fair perspective
Analyze if your judgment of yourself is balanced or if you are overestimating. To do this, an exercise that helps a lot is to imagine that what you are blaming has happened to someone you love very much. Would you judge her with the same harshness? What would you say to him?
4. Identify the origins of the problem
Take a deep look at the following: How did you come to resent him in this way? Have you ever wondered? Understand why our actions help us free ourselves from unnecessary emotions and self-punishment.
Think about the things that you have failed or felt bad about throughout your life, and how they have affected you to the point of becoming the person you are. It is not a question of forgetting everything. But to be fair to yourself. Of course, you could have done it better, but there are surely some facts and events that you blame too much on.
Understanding maladaptive guilt
Being fair and sane in our value judgments helps us to be consistent and balanced people. It is not about shirking responsibility, but taking responsibility for ourselves to the exact extent, evaluating those aspects that are in our area of control., Seek out what we can do and forgive when we don’t get everything we wanted.
Living “addicted” to these kinds of negative emotions only misses the chance to live your life enjoying each day with intensity. Have you ever wondered what you’re missing out on just living with the guilt?
Adaptive guilt is a direct attack on your self-esteem. Minimize your abilities and qualities, maximize your weaknesses, and generate negative automatic thoughts that only lead to your own self-abuse and the constant loss of being able to experience what you are doing with joy and peace of mind.
The only reality is that it is not all your fault. And that’s why, we start by changing the concept, changing the guilt for the responsibility. Responsibility is a powerful word. Take responsibility for your life, your problems, and your happiness. Do not give this responsibility to others.
Also free yourself from the value judgments of others: How do you feel? Ask yourself if you are doing yourself an injustice for what you learned as a child, because of the rules and / or opinions of others, or the personal demands you carry.
Mismatched guilt is often generated by those “backpacks” that we carry with biased ideas and perceptions. However, there are many psychological strategies that generate new habits that help us to come to terms with ourselves, to live fully and freely for the full enjoyment of our life. Encourage yourself to follow the directions given and contact me or another professional in psychotherapy if you wish to continue to delve into or work on this topic.