is Good, Part II
For so many of us, the value of guilt as a signal that we’re
doing something wrong has been so distorted, that we can’t
always count on it to keep us on the right track.
What to do?
Consider this: what if you learned to reinterpret the signals
guilt gives you so that you could see guilt as an ally to help
you make positive change?
To see how this might work, try this on for size. The next time
you feel guilty for making a “good-for-you” choice, like booking some self-pampering
time, putting your feet up and taking a Saturday afternoon off, or saying “no!” to
a commitment you really would rather not, take a long, slow deep breath, and
follow these three steps:
1. Notice what is happening in your body. Do your shoulders
get tight? Do you get butterflies in your stomach? Don’t try
to change anything; just notice your body’s response.
2. Next, notice your thoughts. What do you find yourself thinking?
Are you afraid someone will be angry, or not like you? Do
you find yourself imagining that you’ll be abandoned or
end up a worthless sack of you-know-what?! Again, just notice.
3. Finally, step into the awareness of your thoughts, feelings
and your body’s physical response, totally and completely.
Take a long, slow deep breath.
What you have discovered is your own personal guilt
is the way your body and your thoughts react when you get out of
your comfort zone, and make your own well-being a priority.
If you start thinking that you are doing something wrong, or that you need
to change your plans—STOP and realize that you are at a decision
Right now, you can go back to your old way of being OR choose to see these
signals as your body and brain giving you the green light to keep going.
That’s right—move forward even though
you previously interpreted these signals as a stop sign.
Because you see, what you are feeling isn’t guilt, but just the growing
pains of a more balanced way of being: give and take, work and play.
Are you going to feel guilty when you first start to make yourself
a priority and take the time you need? Absolutely! Is it going
to last forever? Definitely
A good way of thinking about it is to imagine that guilt has
been driving your car. Start now by taking back the wheel and putting
guilt in the passenger
seat. Then after a while, move it to the back seat. Then, the trunk…and
before long, you’ll be waving good bye as you leave guilt behind!
Until next time…