Guilty Again?

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By Stacey Rose, LCSW, PhD

I’d like to have a conversation with you.  Yes, you.  Are you feeling guilty?  Again?  Guilt is a feeling everyone has had at some point in their life, but why? What purpose does it serve?  Anger is there to ward off pain.  Sadness is there to express our gloominess.  Happiness is there to let the sun shine through us.   But guilt, what is the reason any of us have to feel guilty?

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking, “Yea, but Stacey, you don’t know what I did, or didn’t do that I ‘should’ have done; that is why I feel guilty.”  Okay, so maybe you did do something wrong;  WELCOME TO THE HUMAN RACE!  Now, I’m not suggesting you should be off the hook from stealing from your boss or cheating on your partner.  But, what I am suggesting is if you take responsibility for your actions, it will be a whole lot easier to move through whatever situation you’ve created in your life.

Guilt is like quicksand.  Once we get into it, it is hard to get out.  After reading about actual quicksand, it is recommended if you ever get stuck in it, to not flair about but instead relax your body and you will be able to possibly float to the top.  If you fight against it, it may feel like you are trying to lift a medium-size car.  Again, this is true of guilt.  If you relax your body and your mind, you will be more open to discussing your actions and your feelings; but instead if you stay in the guilt, you will not be dealing with the real issues.

So, it’s your choice; struggle and fight or step up and face reality.  I’m confident you’ll choose what’s best for you;  good luck (and it’s been nice talking with you)!!