There are so many ways to feel guilty at midlife . . . you eat the doughnut and you feel guilt. You say those sharp words and the guilt flows again. You feel guilty for not being there when your loved one died, or for your cancer. Guilt can be such an overwhelming negative energy, and it often goes hand in hand with stress and anxiety. Where does it come from? How can you control it? This post will not only look at what guilt is, it will also give you seven steps to overcoming it in midlife
Guilt is partly based in your mind, it is something you create as a reaction to past experiences, it is also partly based within the society you live in. It’s is an emotion, a warning sign that you have done something wrong. It is often irrational and out of proportion too.
We can say there are two types:
It allows you to re-think what you have just done and whether your reactions were the correct ones. It’s a way of making sure you don’t hurt yourself or others, a warning sign that if you are to continue you will cause pain. Its sole purpose is not to make you feel bad, it has a reason for being there – to help you learn.
Guilt, in appropriate and reasonable doses, helps us all to act in pro-social ways that can be constructive to the way we live our lives.
You may feel guilty about losing your cool or eating that plate of chips and you decide to do something about it. Perhaps you eliminated the cause of the guilt and it has served its purpose. You take a deep breath before spouting those angry words, you find an alternative to the chips and the guilt disappears. Then you have listened to its message.
Acts in the opposite way to the healthy variety. Its job is to make you feel bad for legitimate reasons. This type of guilt can be a highly destructive and damaging experience for many. You feel guilty at not being there for your loved ones at the time they died, or for having cancer. It is obsessive and self-harming.
Unhealthy guilt is exaggerated and out of proportion to the original situation, it continually nags at you, chipping away at your self-confidence. You feel bad about yourself, and this may lead to low-self esteem and depression and it inhibits you from learning from your mistakes.
So what can you do about it? Here are seven steps you can take to overcome midlife guilt. You may choose to take note of them all, or just the one that applies at this moment in time, take a look below and listen to what resonates with you. Be Sensibly Selfish, have a pen and paper ready and take note of what comes up for you, that way you are better able to deal with your feelings and emotions.
Seven Steps to Overcoming Midlife Guilt
1. Accept you did something wrong. Today is not the past – move on
2. Learn from your guilt and avoid repeating it again. Mistakes are for learning from, it is the whole essence of being human.
3. Apologise and move on. Letting go is the key, there is no time to blame the victim, and keep the energy going.
4. You are human, not perfect, be kind to yourself.
5. Guilt can be seen as a wasted emotion, attached to judgment, and that judgment comes from outside of you. It means you are going outside of yourself to define who you are and how you behave. Rely on your internal mechanisms of decision making and self-regulation.
6. Change your thoughts and you can change your emotions. Once you realise that you’re inaccurately seeing the causes of guilt, you can readjust your mind set.
7. Get help, find a professional who can help you face your issue and deal with it.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the issues in this post. I would love to read you comments in the box below too.
Why not book a STRESS BUSTING session with me right now and lets’ get rid of that guilt.
Have you read 100 Stress Busting Tips Yet? Why not head over there by clicking HERE
For link to Lori Dante’s awesome painting entitled click HERE
Read about STRESS HEREShare