Releasing Toxic Guilt
Most of us, in our minds, have an idea about the kind of person we want to be and the kind of life that we want to lead. Our emotions and feelings are our guiding compass, they are meant to let us know whether we have deviated off the path that is taking us towards our ideals or whether we are keeping on track.
Positive emotions mean that we think we are getting closer to our goals, while negative ones represent the contrary.
Guilt, in particular, is a negative emotion that appears as a result of our mind judging our actions to have been out of alignment with our values. Ironically, most people who could benefit from such guidance almost never seem to experience it, while those who do experience guilt tend to exaggerate their culpability, creating toxic guilt.
Toxic guilt leads to cycles of self-sabotage. Subconsciously, a person who feels guilty will be looking for ways to punish themselves. They will do this by finding toxic relationships with people who do not value them, by trying to save those who cannot be saved, by letting their health and appearance go, by deeming themselves unworthy of success and love and by allowing themselves to be manipulated by friends and colleagues.
Toxic guilt can have anyone stuck in a vicious cycle of self-devaluation and resentment. That is why forgiving yourself is key. Here are a few tips on how to do this effectively:
- UNDERSTAND THAT IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU. Imagine a child who thinks that their parent’s divorce is all about them, and don’t be that child. You must learn to accept that you do not have full control over all the things that take place in your life. Neither the positive ones nor the negative ones. Moreover, you have neither the right, nor the ability to impose your wishes upon others. Other people have their lessons to learn, and their paths to walk. They are entitled to experience their pain, mistakes and tragedies. Hard as it may be for you to witness, especially if it affects you directly, it is the mistakes that your loved ones make that will, in the end, make them grow into the most beautiful/connected versions of themselves. You are only entitled to your reactions to what takes place and to making better choices for yourself.
- FORGIVE YOURSELF AND LET GO OF OUTCOMES. Know that you taking excessive responsibility for something will lead to the situation repeating itself over and over again, until you learn not to do so. Life is a school. When it first brings lessons for you to work on, it offers them gently. But if you refuse to learn. It will up the ante. Each time it will insist more loudly that you listen to the lecture. Not in order to hurt you, but in order to finally get you to understand and change your approach. Unlike what a lot of people believe, life is not cruel. It is simply not corrupted by emotional investment in outcomes. Which is to say, it will not pity you because you are suffering, but it will keep guiding you. So if, in order to heal you, life needs to hurt you, it will. If you refuse to learn, you may even get to a point where the path of least resistance for you is the death of the physical body. Tragic as that sounds to you, the universe will not judge this as good or bad either.
- REMEMBER THAT PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. No exception. None at all. Most people have lives where they are never offered the opportunity to screw up on a global scale. Yet those who get the chance, frequently do mess things up, whether or not they intend to. Did you cause damage on a global scale? Are you still doing it now? Didn’t think so. Stop expecting yourself to be perfect, and accept your humanity. A wise man was once asked why murderers and bad people existed. He replied, that it was because saints existed. Where there is light, there must be a shadow. Without contrast experience itself is impossible.
- BUILD YOUR EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE THROUGH SELF-CARE. Both physical and psychological. Remember that giving is nothing but proof of having received. Fill your cup, before you pour into the cups of others.
As far as our vibration goes, guilt is very low on the list, negatively overtaken only by shame. If you have not yet read my article on releasing toxic shame, you can find it here: Releasing Toxic Shame
Do you have any useful tips on how to let go of toxic guilt? Leave a comment below the article. Thank you and have a beautiful day!