Updated: Jul 2
Guilt is one of the most destructive emotions we can get caught up in. We can do things we wish we hadn’t. Then we spend time thinking about why we did it, should we have done it, what else could we have done, and before we know it we have surrounded ourselves with clouds of remorse, maybe self doubt, even self loathing. These clouds block our ability to see clearly and without clarity we can struggle to see a different perspective.
In his book Power vs Force: The Anatomy of Consciousness (Veritas Publishing, 1995), Dr David Hawkins ‘mapped’ human emotions on what he called a Scale of Consciousness. On this scale, which spans 0 – 1000, with anger sitting at 150, guilt sits at 30. The only emotion on Hawkin's Scale of Consciousness lower than guilt is shame, which sits at 20.
Dr Brene Brown – researcher, TED speaker and author of the book Daring Greatly : How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Penguin Putnam Inc. Publishing 2012) believes ‘that guilt is adaptive and helpful – it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.’ I believe that we all strive to be better people, more loving, more consciously aware and more true to ourselves. A feeling of guilt can be used to understanding more about who you are. It’s an opportunity to show yourself some compassion and grace. The more compassion and grace we show ourselves, the more we can show others.
Life is unpredictable. From time to time we will do things or say things that we wish we hadn’t. Accept it. Remember, you are not your actions. Ask yourself, ‘what can I learn from this?’ What learning is in this for me? Torturing yourself will not make you a better person. Showing yourself some compassion absolutely will.
Would you like to live your life free of the feelings of guilt?
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