Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Hi, I'm Nic from Compassionate Self. And I would like to share with you a little insight that I had regarding guilt. So in the past I had, a negative experience with guilt and a negative relationship to guilt. I had some idea that if I felt guilty, there was a wrongness in it, and therefore I should not feel guilty. I had the idea that I needed to do whatever exercise or practice I could in order to eradicate guilt from my system. Trying to get rid of guilt tells me that there's some part of me that doesn't like that feeling and that wants to get rid of it. Which is quite normal. This is an uncomfortable feeling, the feeling of guilt.
But I realized the other day that actually there's a part of me that is feeling guilty. And this part of me is really just giving me a signal that something needs to happen. You could even reframe this feeling of guilt as regret and a simply a signal that is telling me that my needs or the needs of another have not been met. This feeling is rather an invitation to do something than something that needs to be avoided.
I need to take some action to repair the relationship, to own up to what it is that I did and to express that I did something that did not meet my needs. My guess is that it didn't meet the other person's needs either. And I just want to be transparent about that. I want to come clean about that. I want to be open about that. And for me, this is when the guilt shifts. I don't want to try to get rid of guilt or try to become someone who never feels guilty, because that would then potentially, make me, kind of cold and disconnected person. I've met people who never really feel guilty about doing what they do and others label them as being narcissists. So I want to be really careful about trying to get rid of this feeling of guilt because, it is this feeling, this sensation, that is a call to action for me to repair the relationship, and to be transparent about what happened. If I feel any guilt or regret then I want to open up and be clear about how what I did was for me(feelings and needs) and express that there is some regret about that. I also want to be curious how it was for the other person(their feelings and needs)? For me, this is the way to not only get connection with others, but also to have this feeling melt or drop away, and then I don't have to carry it around anymore. I no longer have to carry this heavy weight, this burden of guilt when I'm transparent about what is alive in me, when I'm open to listening to how my actions affected the other person.
This may sound something like "Hey, this happened, this is how I feel about it, these are the needs of mine that were unmet, and I'm curious, how that was for you. How did you experience it?" I'm hoping this was helpful and supportive. If you'd like to learn more about, what myself and Sarah offer, then you're welcome to take a look at our online courses or therapeutic coaching offering.