May 20, 2013
Guilt is Overrated

When you are making changes in your life and working to develop a different lifestyle, “guilt” is often more of a distraction than a benefit.  To me “guilt” is a very specific emotion:  if you do something wrong you should feel guilty, stop doing it, and make amends and then move on.  We tend to generalize “guilt” and apply it to things that are not morally wrong. 

The change process can be difficult and frustrating for many of us.  It is difficult to always stick to a new plan and to behave as we hope to behave.  This causes many of us to beat ourselves up and feel guilty about our “failure”.  I think this response misses the point.  The “failure” is really an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and the change we are creating.  If we can objectively examine what happened then we can learn what led to the behavior we didn’t like and we can correct this routine.  If we emotionally beat ourselves up then we are more likely to get lost in emotions and we don’t really learn what we need to learn.  We need to do both:  give ourselves an emotional break and also hold ourselves accountable to the change we wish to create.

Written by Peter Kaperick

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