I’ve been thinking about guilt

Date: 12th November 2018

I’ve been thinking about guilt … and how it can destroy our soul.

Guilt, when misplaced, can be an unbearable emotion, and is closely related to shame.

Although appropriate guilt can be an impetus to help us make amends for wrongs we have
done, or caused, there is a darker side to guilt. It is this nasty side that can be debilitating. As
with all emotions it is what we believe about ourselves that will determine how they affect

The negative aspect of guilt, and shame, masquerades as self-reproach, self-accusation, and
self-condemnation. If we spend excess amounts of energy focusing on our failures, big or
small, our self-image will be completely distorted. We can become emotionally diminished,
and if not recognised and removed from our self-talk, it will drive us towards resentment
and depression.

I find myself plagued with guilt, and self-recrimination, when I fail to live up to the
expectations I have set for myself. The danger here is that those expectations are often
unrealistic. If I rely on my feelings to tell me that I have failed, then I have failed …
regardless of whether I have or not! That probably sounds a bit weird, but it’s so true. If I
feel a failure, then my feelings must be true. Right? WRONG!

It took me years to realise that my feelings lied to me. Not all the time, but when I felt guilty
or ashamed about my failure to live up to the expectations I had of myself I believed I was a
failure. That’s the terrible thing about guilt and shame, it focuses on us, rather than our
behaviour. My self-talk often said things like, ‘You are so stupid; ‘You will never be any
good; ‘You can never stick at anything.’ I had believed those cruel, hurtful words were truth!
They denied my dignity and self-worth as a woman, and smothered the tiny sparks of truth
that I possessed heaps of good, even beautiful qualities.

Friends don’t let those feelings of guilt and shame determine how you view yourself. Begin
to examine your feelings … if they focus negatively on you as a person rather than on your
behaviour, kick them as far away from you as possible. They are lies and poison.
We must learn to love ourselves, and nurture self-respect and self-worth in the deep parts of
our soul, and then in others. Only with that truth in place can we can begin to work on our

Don’t lose heart. Get around people who will value you and speak truth into your life.
You are so worth it!

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