Nostalgia is an awesome place to visit, but you cannot live there. ~ Terra
Ever hear of it?
It really does have a function – it alerts us to when we have violated a personal value.
Now I can do something about that.
But here is the problem . . .
People use it to justify beating themselves up.
STOP THE INSANITY BECAUSE IT IS KILLING YOU!
I know this is easier said than done because I’ve been there, done that! But, I have learned that using guilt in the short-term to make changes and letting go of the past is a much more lovely place.
You might be saying “I know this but I just can’t let it go!” I hear this a lot and this will take a little bit of time and PATIENCE with yourself
AND it can be done.
Step 1: What are you feeling guilt about? Name it specifically. Example: I feel like I was a bad mom. Step 2: Okay, is that statement true (be honest)? Example: Was I a bad mom? Step 3: If it is true, name what you did that was “bad.” Example: I wasn’t always attentive to my kid’s needs. So, you violated the value of not being attentive to your kids. Can this be changed? Can you be attentive now? If it is not true, Guilt does not fit the facts. Time to remind your mind about the facts of the situation. Time to say, “Nope. I do not need to feel guilty because this isn’t true.” This probably needs to be done several times before your mind adapts because this pathway is probably deep. Step 4: Look at what changes need to be made and if you need to repair a relationship. Example: I can now intentionally decide when I want to be more attentive. This is where people falter. You cannot change the past, however, you can make changes in your life now. Remember, you are not super human, so be realistic. Step 5: When guilt tries to creep in about that same past event, you need to remind the mind about the facts of TODAY. “I have made these changes and I will try not to repeat the past” and “No, I do not need to feel guilty because I have already made these changes.” DO NOT get sucked in. Guilt is NOT a good reminder of the past, memory is. Step 6: Do it again. It’s kind of like the “rinse and repeat” we see on shampoo bottles.
If you are a chronic guilt sufferer, this will need to be done again and again.
There is nothing wrong with you, it is just that you learned this as a coping strategy and it no longer is effective.
Keep working at it!