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Over the last two posts, we’ve come a long way. We’ve figured out what guilt is and what it does for us. Now, we need to find the reason for our guilt. What reason could there be for such a difficult emotion to cope with?
Before we get too far into this, if guilt is something you struggle with you may find it beneficial to go back and read Part One and Part Two of this series before continuing.
So without further ado, let’s dig a little deeper and get to the root causes for your guilt, let’s find out what is holding us back.
We can’t work on something and make improvements until we know what it is. Fair warning, digging deep and examining this feeling will get a little uncomfortable. Don’t let that deter you, you’re a trooper, you can get through it. Keep pushing. I believe in you and I promise, you will feel so much better once you’ve faced your fears and dealt with these toxic feelings.
The first thing you need to do is find a quiet, comfortable place. Somewhere you can sit and think for a while without being interrupted.
You might find it beneficial to grab a journal and pen. Some people find writing helps them focus and stay on track. Personally, I prefer to think it through and frankly, I don’t want the risk of anyone finding a list of my innermost struggles. Thinking through it will work just as well as writing, maybe even better because there’s no temptation to censor your thoughts.
Once you’re comfortable, you start thinking. Think about the things causing guilt, what do they have in common? Are they all about a similar topic, surrounding a similar person? If you’re struggling with this, call a good friend. Preferably, someone, you trust who knows you well. You might be surprised how insightful some of your friends are, especially if they have known you for a long time.
After you have determined where your guilt is coming from, you can look at how it’s holding you back.
Perhaps, you’ve been thinking about doing freelance work while staying at home and raising your young children. It’s possible feelings of guilt may keep you from reaching your freelancing potential or even keep you from starting at all. You may worry about the time you won’t be spending with your children, the sacrifices you’ll have to make. Often that is enough to keep people from striving toward their dreams.
Problem is, when you sit down and think about it, you might see a solution right in front of you. Perhaps you do freelance work while your children are sleeping or when they’re playing independently. You might realize you’ll have more time on your hands once they start school.
If we look deeper yet, you might realize you’re worried about how working again could be perceived by those around you. You imagine your spouse feeling you don’t have enough time for them. In your head, you can practically hear the neighbors whispering you’re a bad parent because you’re not focusing enough on your children.
That sucks. Those thoughts, the feelings they elicit. Truly, it’s horrible. Problem is, it’s not realistic.
If we look closer at those thoughts, we can see just how silly they are. In this day and age, it’s common for both parents. Not to mention freelance work will give you a flexible schedule so you can still drop everything and tend to the children if need be.
Besides, do you even care what others think? You shouldn’t. No matter what you’ll never please everyone, someone will always be waiting to tell you that you’re not good enough. The key is being able to block them out, and know you are enough. No matter what you do, or don’t do you are enough.
When we look at our guilt realistically, we begin to feel a bit better about the whole idea. But there’s probably still a know in your stomach, there was in mine, anyway. If we take a closer look, we’ll realize that knot isn’t from guilt at all. It’s from another feeling that’s manifesting itself as guilt.
If we keep reflecting, we’ll realize what we’re feeling is doubt. We’re worried about what will happen if we don’t make it. What if we try and fail in the end? That would be horrible, wouldn’t it. Problem is this fear of failing is preventing us from even trying.