This is always a somewhat controversial subject when I bring it up to clients, friends & family. Mainly due to the fact that it is so very ingrained in us, at least in Western Society. Guilt truly isn’t an emotion, no matter how one thinks about it.
I was first introduced to this concept, when I was a freshman at my local Jr College, straight out of high school, many decades ago. One day in my Psycholoy 1A class, Dr. David Hamilton, brought up this subject as the topic of class. He stated that this is often a topic that he brings up with his clients as part of therapy. It is a way to help them work through hurdles in their life.
Think about guilt and what an overwhelming impact it has on one’s life. I’m talking about guilt from an emotional perspective, not the legal definition. Where does it come from? How did we learn about the concept of guilt?
Guilt is basically a learned response taughtt to us as young children. Who taught us about guilt? Basically, we learned it from those who have power over us in our lives. As children it is often our parents/ other family members, religion, schools & others who are in charge. As we grow up and move through our lives, we are continually reminded of guilt from spouses/significant others, friends, government & society at large.
Guilt is tool used by those who have perceived power over us to keep their control over us. Letting go of guilt and owning the right to not feel guilty about anything is a very freeing experience. If one thinks about it, there are examples everywhere about this control. All one has to do is look around and listen.
The idea of not feeling guilty is also about owning one’s emotions. Meaning you are in charge of what you feel, when you feel it & why you feel it. Not being told “you should feel guilty about anything.” When you are owning your emotions, nobody can tell you how, why or where to feel an emotion. They’re your emotions, only YOU can dictate this for yourself.
So what does one feel when they remove guilt from their life? Basically free for one thing. To be yourself, freedom to express yourself, how you feel & not how you are told to feel. Such as, instead of guilty, true feelings, including sad, regretful, sorry, bad, remorseful for example. With the the key component of the statement being ” I feel” instead of “you should feel.”
This is not an easy way to be in the beginning, since it is so very indoctrinated in us. But if you decide to give it a try and stick to it. As, with many things in life, it will get easier with time. Remember how long you have been having this thought process.
I’ve been following this philosphy/way of thinking since Dr. Hamilton gave this lecture and have never looked back. I prefer owning my emotions and the freedom that comes with it to be genuine and real with the world.
As my week long vacation comes to an end, my thoughts are on returning to work refreshed and with a relaxed attitude. I am ready to tackle the world of work again.
I’m not one of those people who holds onto all my vacation time. I’m of the philosphy to use it as a precious commodity, a yearly gift. I understand the importance of needed breaks from work. Whether it be a mid week “Mental Health day”, a long weekend or a full week off. This is important for our mental, physical and soul health.
Over my lifetime and I’m sure most Americans have known people who brag about how they are saving their time for retirement or how they have never taken a sick day in their life. My response to them is always, “I’m sorry for you.” They are always surprised by my genuine response.
I geniunely do feel for them, since they are missing out on a vital component of life. Yes, I do understand about jobs that don’t give paid time off. I’ve had my share of them as well in my life time. I have learned in my life, that even with jobs that don’t give leave time, one can find creative ways to get extra time off.
Do/can you swap shifts or days with coworkers to get some time off? I have done this in the past. For those who have the paid time off and you aren’t using it, why not? Something I have learned over my decades of working is that the work will get done if we aren’t there. As valuable as we are or think we are to our employer, all of us replaceable. After all, when we retire or change jobs/positions someone else comes along to take our place.
I understand saving time to take that ultimate dream vacation, but still take the long weekend while you save the other time. Just remember to take some time off for yourself. It is the best gift you can give yourself & it keeps giving to those in your life, as well.
Studies have shown that time off is an important component of our health. The need to relax, play and reconnect with ourselves & the world around us. It can add years to our life, reduce our stress levels & improve our mental health. It doesn’t matter what you do with your time off. Whether you hang at home in your pjs (one of my favorites), hang out with friends, travel or whatever makes you happy, do it!
Are you taking your time off? If not, why not?
Happy September 1st everyone! Life has been hectic around here, so this blog is later than I was aiming to have posted.
Affirmations is a common counseling tool used across the board in the counseling world and I use it frequently with my clients. It has several main goals and purposes, but the two that I use it for the most when working with clients are self esteem issues and struggling through rough moments in life. There are other techniques as well, but I like the ease of daily usage, how easy this tool can become a habit and the immediacy of results it can provide.
When working with clients, the first step in the process is to identify a few issues that need to be worked on, such as reminding one that I can do whatever and I have the abilities to accomplish the goal. Such as, I am smart, I am capable, I have a beautiful voice, for example. I encourage them write down the same two affirmations on two separate sticky/post it notes. One will be placed on either the bathroom or bedroom mirror and the other somewhere they will see it frequently during the day when at home, such as by the door or on the fridge. Some clients will even place a third note on their work station as well. Every time you see these notes, you speak these words out loud or if at work to yourself. Once you believe one or both of these affirmations, You repeat the process of a new note with the next affirmations.
Clients are often amazed with both the simplicity, ease and results these techniques can provide. I’m a firm believer in simple and easy techniques when possible, life can be complicated enough without adding more complications to it. Give it a shot and let me know how this works for you.
I would definitely recommend reading this article, I found it very interesting .
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