Guilt is an emotion that occurs when you have done something that you believe you should not have done or have not done something you believe you should have done. However, if you wallow in your failures, you set yourself up for resentment and depression, according to Psychology Today. Click here to read article.
Dr John Demartini, American public speaker in human behaviour, is of the opinion that guilt damages physical and emotional well-being.
The basic emotion guilt is one of the most challenging emotions affecting our overall physical and emotional well-being. Guilt can sabotage our vitality, imbalance our physiology, and rob us of our inner poise. This emotional feeling has been demonstrated to underlie the full spectrum and ever-growing number of psychosomatic illnesses.
Guilt, an emotion involving a distorted memory of the past, arises when we unrealistically assume that we have caused ourselves, or others, more loss than gain, more drawback than benefit, more negative than positive, or more pain than pleasure. It results from an imbalanced ‘re-jection’ onto the past. It arises when we have been unwilling to look for the equilibrating gains, benefits, positives, and pleasures in advance, which brings our lives into order.
Every event has two sides
According to Dr Demartini, every event has two sides, both a positive and a negative. “It is our accountability to find these two sides equally with our minds. Our emotions correspondingly fluctuate with our mind’s perceptions. We can become victims of personal circumstances and ill when we don’t find the balance or we can achieve victory and well-being when this inherent balance has been truly discovered.”
Feelings of love and appreciation can bring wellness
Dr Demartini believes that we have the power to heal within our own minds and hearts. Just as imbalanced emotional feelings can result in fear and guilt and can lead us into illness, the balanced feelings of love and appreciation can bring about our return to wellness. “Love and gratitude can fortify our immune systems and initiate physiological poise throughout our body. Perfectly balanced perceptions give us the feelings that all is in order. Gratitude is therefore the key to our hearts and the pathway to our soul.”
As a life strategist and psychologist, here are my views on guilt.
A journalist interviewed me for an article in one of South Africa’s most read magazines. She asked me questions about guilt. Here are my answers:
What do people feel guilty about?
People feel guilty about things they perceive they should have done and they did not do it. The reason why they did not do it is because something else was more important to do. People feel guilty about not spending enough time with their kids because they work or spending too much time with their kids because they stay at home; people feel guilty about spending too much money on others or nor spending enough money on others; people feel guilty about not phoning you on your birthday, for wasting your time, for not exercising, for shouting, for reading too much or not reading at all. The list goes on.
How do I get rid of my guilt?
Guilt is a lopsided perception that you cause yourself or someone else more pain than pleasure, more negatives than positives, more losses than gains, more drawbacks than benefits, where in reality you CANNOT ever do that. For every pain there is an equal and opposite pleasure; for every negative there is an equal and opposite positive; for every loss there is an equal and opposite gain; for every drawback there is an equal and opposite benefit.
How does this work?
Let’s work with a real life example. You feel guilty towards yourself for not exercising and that is a big red negative ( – ).
Now ask yourself what is the equal and opposite positive or benefit or gain or pleasure for you when you are not exercising. You might come up with positives like: I don’t have to leave the house too early so I can give my kids breakfast, I don’t have to wash my hair every day which keeps my hair more healthy, I get to have more time at home to spend time with my family in the mornings, I get time to read my favourite newspaper and I get to study the stock market for the day, I watch the news on television in the mornings which makes me more knowledgeable about world affairs, I use steps wherever I can to give me exercise. You will notice that all your positives and benefits and gains and pleasures will be true to what is really important to you. You are just living your life authentic and true to yourself. That is a genius!
When your guilt is towards another person
You ask the same questions for the other person. What is the equal and opposite positive or benefit or gain or pleasure for them? The more you list, the more your guilt will go down.