Nowadays the recession is not only depleting our finances, but is triggering guilty feelings like surviving a job layoff when a colleague or friend has been let go. You might be surprised to learn that it’s not just a crime or a lie that makes most of us feel guilty, rather happiness and fun. Consider the phrase: “I’m so happy that I just can’t stand it!” Or are you afraid of being jinxed if you own your success or do you keep a low profile because of that ubiquitous evil eye? Ever wonder why sex falls by the wayside for many people — it’s the guilt about experiencing pleasure.
Here are some things we typically feel guilty about: eating, sex, shopping, switching doctors and requesting our medical records, taking time out for the self, caregiving and saying no.
However, don’t feel guilty about feeling guilty! You have your work cut out for you shedding the guilt that was passed down to you from generations of parents and educators urging you to conform and be nice. It’s time to get rid of tribal beliefs which no longer resonate for you and make your own decisions. If life gives you lemons, you don’t have to make lemonade. Just throw away the lemons. When you feel guilty, have regular reasonable dialogues with yourself because guilt is illogical.
Tips to let go of guilt:
* Stop being your own judge and jury: failure and success are matters of perception; today’s failure could be tomorrow’s success. You can’t see the whole picture because you are too close to it. For example, you were late and missed the plane — maybe you were lucky.
* Practice expressing what you need along with your honest feelings to silence that “I should have said…” voice that you hear after the fact. Begin with little things and see how good you feel. “Honey, could you please bring me the morning paper, and a cup of coffee.” Note the surprise when you ask. Affirm and compliment those who carry out your bidding.
* When it comes to sex, your sexual fire and fantasies are free – they don’t come with a moral code. Use your head to rehearse sex in your brain. Free your fantasies.
* Create a guilt-free zone at home, a space for yourself, and take off your wrist watch to feel truly unlimited. This could be a corner of a room, a desk, or the bathtub with little knick-knacks that remind you not to feel guilty like a photo of a cloud floating in a blue sky.
* Every day treat yourself to something special and savor it. For me it’s dark chocolate.
* Find an animal (animals don’t feel guilty) to symbolize who you are the way Native American Indians built their totem poles. Try not to choose a chicken! A tiger or a horse is a better choice.
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