There’s an old joke: What do you call a woman who feels no guilt? A man. You may laugh. But sadly it’s true. Studies have confirmed that indeed women suffer significantly more guilt than men.
Guilt, simply put, is feeling as if you’ve done something wrong or bad. Every time you deviate from the norm, from what you ‘should’ do, your Ego goes berserk, using guilt, like a whip, to keep you in check, warning of dreadful consequences if you disobey its rules.
Guilt is self-destructive, immobilizing, a short cut to unhappiness, a hindrance to healing. You know you’re acting from guilt whenever you hear yourself saying I should….
As my dear friend and songwriter, Athena Burke, always says, “Anything that comes after ‘I should’ is a lie.” Our Ego’s lie.
I spent years wracked with guilt for leaving my kids with a sitter every day and going to work. I was tormented by the feeling I should be home with them, like my mother was for me.
Then a very wise teacher told me something I will never forget. “Guilt,” he explained, “is anger you don’t feel a right to have.”
The moment I heard those words, I recognized the truth. I was actually furious at my children for ‘making’ me feel bad.
As soon as I saw this, I began releasing my anger by replacing it with love...for my work, for my kids, for myself. I recognized that I’m not my mother, nor would I be happy living by her values, her rules.
It was a stunning awareness that freed me from guilt, allowing me to enjoy being a mom, my way!
If you are tormented by guilt, it’s time to muster up the mental discipline to stop beating yourself up and start trusting your truth while honoring your needs (even if it looks to the world as if you’re selfish).
What ‘shoulds’ are you allowing to make you feel guilty? Leave me a comment below.