In my last post, we got a little personal discussing some of the guilty thoughts that plague us. I wrote about three questions you can ask yourself to eliminate any of this unnecessary guilt and we worked through a “ditch it” or “fix it” process.
But once you determined if you should “ditch it,” I just left you hanging there with little information on how to truly ditch your guilt — for good. And that’s not good enough.
Previously we evaluated our guilt based on three questions:
Does my guilt come from an external expectation?
If you answered yes to question No. 1, ditch your guilt.
If you answered no, move to question No. 2.
Is the negative thought you have true?
If you answered no to question No. 2, ditch your guilt.
If you answered yes, move to question No. 3.
What can I do to fix it?
When working through your guilty emotions, you may have landed on “ditch it” after question No. 1 or No. 2 and not known what to do from there. The reality is, eliminating guilty feelings or thoughts is not as easy as just “choosing” to let the guilt go.
As a reminder, false guilt is guilt we feel from an external source or guilt that stems from the fear of social judgment and the disapproval of others.
If you determined your guilt was false guilt, it’s important to release that feeling. Here are two strategies you can use to help you further in this process:
Replace the false guilt with the truth
When your brain wants to resonate on the negative thought, it may be helpful to consciously shake that thought away and replace it with the truth.
My twins have a severe peanut allergic. Years ago I accidentally fed them a peanut butter cookie from a gifted tray of Christmas cookies. It only took seconds before they were crying and clawing at their throats. I was overwhelmed with guilt. I had put my boys in danger and I felt terrible. After a trip to the hospital they were all right, but I still felt like a bad mother.
What I had done was a mistake. But letting that guilt go was no easy feat.
In my case, I had to actually repeat out loud to myself that what I did was an accident and that I am still a good mother.
What is the truth behind the false guilt you carry? Some examples of ways you can replace your thoughts with the truth:
- Write the truth down on paper.
- Display it where you’ll see it.
- Read it out loud to yourself.
- Carry it around with you in your pocket.
- Repeat it in your mind when your thought wanders to a negative space again.
Realign with what is important to you, not important to others
If we feel guilt because we believe we are not living up to someone else’s standard of excellence, we can only eliminate this guilt by having the courage to hold true to our own standard.
Decide what you value. Decide what is important to you. And then decide to honor yourself. I love the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Could you use a group of moms to support you with this?
This article originally published as Nicole’s regular column on KSL.com
Stock image from freedigitalphotos.net.