Monthly Archives: November 2011
I am honored to announce that ‘Inspired Every Moment’ has been nominated for the Liebster Award. This award recognizes blogs that have less than 200 followers and deserve more recognition. Having just recently started this blog in the hopes of helping others live a happier, more positive life it brings me great joy to see that my posts are getting attention and I can only hope that they are helping the readers in some way.
There are some rules to this award that must be carried out, as with any award you receive online, and it is my pleasure to do so.
- Thank the blogger who gave you the Award – So my dearest Thanks goes out to Indi – The Nook who took notice of my posts and shared this great award with me. I thank you so much and wish you all the best in your journey. Be sure to check out her site if you haven’t already.
- Pick 5small blogs that are worth the honorsMade by Mother Eagle – This is a wonderful site full of interesting and inspirational images, information, ideas and posts.
Life Of Wonder – This is a fresh look at life and parenting, a site I just discovered that spoke to my soul.
Experification – Which gives you a little of everything and is always worth reading.
Thypolar’s Life – Another fun, interesting, innovative look at life and parenting with all the issues and the drama it entails.
A Simple Love of Reading – An excellent blog about everything books.
- Spread the words about Liebster Awards – Which I will gladly do, as every writer deserves recognition for their efforts.
Once again I would like to extend a warm and heart-felt Thank-you to The Nook for this nomination. I truly appreciate knowing that all the time and effort I have put into this site were not in vain. I look forward to further posts and exploration and I wish each and every one of you the best that life has to offer.
Until Next Time…
Keep on Keeping On!
Our Last post looked more in-depth at Letting Go of Negative Thinking and provided tips, tricks and exercises to promote a more positive mind. This post is another in the “Letting Go” Series which deals with the “10 Things You Must Let Go of Today” list that was posted on this site a few weeks back, and will take a look at “Letting go of your Need for Approval.”
The ‘Need for Approval’ is a deep-rooted issue that affects many of us on some level and manifests itself in various ways. For many of us this need for approval is seen in the way we live our daily lives through our often subconscious actions.
People who struggle with this issue usually depend on others to confirm their self-worth, wait for approval of others for recognition of their achievements, avoid conflict, are over-agreeable in their relationships, live their lives according to the way others see them, often have a hard time making decisions or solving problems on their own, and often rely on others for their happiness.
This issue has a huge effect on your quality of life, but it also affects those around you as well. When faced with a person who needs constant reassurance people are often feel uncomfortable by being over-needed, they may feel themselves that nothing they do is good enough, or they may be frightened by the sense of low self-esteem you radiate because of these issues.
Your need for approval might show itself in more subtle ways. Perhaps you aim to please family, friends or partners more often than you should. Maybe you rely on your spouse to solve the financial issues your family faces, or you seek reassurance before or after your actions. Whatever form your need for approval takes, it is having an effect on your life and needs to be addressed today if you hope to life a happier, more fulfilled life.
How To Control You Need For Approval:
The following suggestions will help you address the issue and move past your need for approval.
- Accept and embrace your fear of rejection, failure, or abandonment and consider where these feelings come from. – For many people this will be a difficult step that may bring up deep-rooted emotions but it is a necessary action in overcoming this issue.
- Let go of the idea that other people need to know what you have done for it to matter. If what you are doing makes you happy that is enough reason to do it. It is still success whether it is well know or personal.
- Learn to speak-up. Don’t do something just to please other people, learn to say ‘No’ when you don’t want to do something, or through in your opinion when you have something to be said. The worst thing that is going to happen is that someone is going to get upset, or not like your idea, but you should take comfort in the fact that you made the effort and did what YOU felt was right.
- Stop relying on others for entertainment. You must learn to be happy with yourself if you ever hope to truly be happy with another person. These are words we have all heard at one time or another, but the truth in them is undeniable. If you can not entertain yourself, be happy with yourself and love yourself no one else will ever be able to do it long-term either. Take time each day to appreciate being alone.
- Make a list of all of your positive traits. And post it where you will see it. It is important that we remember our self-worth and creating a list of all the things that are great about you is a wonderful way of reminding yourself that you are unique and deserve appreciation. You should not have to rely on others to point these things out, they are within you to find, and share.
- Start each day with a positive point. Wake up and start fresh by stating one thing that is great about your life, one thing you are proud of or one thing you are thankful for today. It is a great way to begin your day on a positive note, and it gives you a goal to focus on. By thinking about something positive such as, your health, family or friends you will bring more positivity to that area of your life and place more focus on those things that matter most to you.
- Express your “I” feelings. When faced with conflict, stick to what you know by using “I” statements to express how the situation makes you ‘feel.’ Many conflicts are escalated when one person state the way the other person feels. Only you know your feelings, and only yours. Remember that sometimes a persons actions are different from what they actually feel, refrain from judging and share only what you know and feel. This makes conflict less confrontational and helps to create a more conversational environment.
- Ask yourself where your actions have gotten you. By always being agreeable, doing what is expected of you, or focusing on others what are you losing personally? Consider this before you act.
- Keep track of all your compliments. Each time someone compliments you, or says something that makes you feel good write it down. Although you should not need to hear compliments, we all benefit from positive reassurance. Each time someone compliments you for a job well done, says you look nice or makes you smile, take note. Before long you will see that you don’t need to ‘seek‘ approval because it is already there.
- Do what is best for you. Act on your feelings, thoughts and emotions. Do what works for you and what makes you happiest. It is fine to want to help other people, but don’t do it at your own expense. Charity is only charity if it comes from the heart. If something is going to make ‘you’ miserable leave it for someone who will actually enjoy it. Don’t stress about hurting anyone’s feeling, or letting people down, who is worrying about you?
Letting go of your Need For Approval is a huge part of living a full and happy life. If you truly hope to achieve your personal goals you must first learn to accept yourself as a person. Looking to others for approval and reassurance will only provide instant gratification, and will not withstand the obstacles you will face in the long-run. You must learn to love and appreciate yourself and accept that you can not please everyone all the time.
It is important that you focus on how you feel about yourself and not how others see you. Requiring approval from others for you action is a habit that will hold you back from the life you long for and deserve.
Tell yourself daily that you are wonderful and amazing, just the way you are.
Until Next Time…
Do What Makes YOU Happy.
Possibly Related and Helpful Articles:
- I’m 18 and suffering from low self-esteem (mirror.co.uk)
- 10 Things You Must Let Go Of Today… (inspiredeverymoment.wordpress.com)
- People are corporations. (taerilynn.wordpress.com)
- What stands between you and your happiness? (using-spiritual-energy.blogspot.com)
- Letting Go, Letting Happiness In (yogafulday.com)
- Nine Tips for Living an Extraordinary Life (imaginethespirit.wordpress.com)
- Oh, you’re just saying that… (healthhappinesshumour.wordpress.com)
Questions, Comments, Thoughts, Requests and Submissions can be forwarded to:
This is the second entry in the “Letting Go Series” and it is based on the list “10 Things You Must Let Go of Today” post that I wrote a few weeks back. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. The previous post in this series looked at Letting Go of Guilt and this post will look at Letting Go of Negative Thinking.
Negative thinking is one of the most difficult things to control but it is an important factor of living a happier, more positive life. The average person has thousands of thoughts every second, some of which are conscious self-inflicted ideas, and others that play silently in the background of our subconscious mind. Many of these thoughts are immersed in negativity, whether we are conscious of it or not.
No matter a person’s age, gender, ethnicity or level of happiness, negative thinking is an affliction that affects everyone at one time or another in various forms. The problem with negative thoughts is that they tend to be difficult to detect and often create a snowball effect that can quickly overcome our minds.
We have all had those days where nothing seems to go right, perhaps you set the alarm for 6:30 but don’t wake-up until 7:00, then you hit a major traffic jam, spill coffee on your shirt, lose the report that is due in 20 minutes, miss the bus or stub your toe, etc… All of these actions start with your first negative thought and begin spiraling out-of-control like a snowball that grows bigger and bigger with every gathered flake.
Consider a frustrated moment when you felt bad about yourself, maybe it was before a party when you realized the dress you were planning to wear was too tight or looked all wrong, chances are this one negative emotion led to others that made it more difficult, and sometimes even impossible, to get yourself back in gear and ready to go. When we allow negative thoughts to enter our mind we run the risk of allowing them to overcome us and even consume us in mere moments.
The reason negative thinking is so dangerous to our lives is because many of these thoughts happen deep inside our mind where we are unable to read, reach or even control them on a conscious level.
So if we don’t know they are happening how can we change them?
The answer is simple, yet complex all at the same time. Although you will never be able to control every thought your mind processes, you do have the ability to choose and adjust the ones you think about consciously.
Conscious thoughts usually occur in reaction to some action. For example: Your alarm doesn’t go off at 6:30 a.m. as it should have. When you awake at 7:00 a.m. you realize that you didn’t set the switch to the ‘on‘ position. For a number of people the first reaction would be one of negativity, such as, “I am such an idiot!” This simple routine reaction allows negativity to enter your mind and breed like fungus. Instead of reacting negatively and blaming yourself, belittling yourself, or ‘freaking out’ (so-to-speak) it is best to accept it as a fact and move on. Replace the negativity of the situation with a positive, purposeful thought instead. E.g. You woke up 30 minutes late, but you got the extra rest you have needed.
The key is to realize that reacting negatively is not going to change what happened!
Negative thinking can manifest itself in all sorts of situations and usually creeps up without notice, burying itself deep inside our minds where it then becomes a bad habit that is hard to break. Negativity can come in a number of forms and requires an ongoing effort to keep contained. The main areas for negative thinking are: Negative thoughts about yourself, Negative thoughts about other people and Negative thoughts about the world in general. These three types of negative thoughts can co-exist or live solely on their own, and although they all have the ability to seriously affect your happiness, negative thoughts about yourself tend to be the most common types, usually causing the most personal damage. Negative self thinking tends to be accompanied by the two other types and is often deep-rooted. Although there may be deep psychological reasons why you experience negative thoughts, you don’t need to know ‘why‘ you think negatively in order to successfully stop these thoughts, you simply need to know ‘what‘ thoughts you are thinking.
Below are some helpful tips that will help you to become more aware of your thinking and encourage you to consciously send your thoughts in a more positive direction. At the end of this list are a number of exercises that will also help to heighten your awareness of your personal thought process and aid you in reversing your negative thinking into more positive action oriented phrases.
Helpful Tips to Control Negative Thinking:
- Remember “This too Shall Pass” – Once we realize and accept that each negative obstacle we encounter is only a ‘temporary’ barrier, it becomes easier to let it go and move forward toward more positive goals. Nothing lasts forever and each moment is an opportunity to learn something new. Look for the positive lesson in each situation and move on with your life. Don’t dwell on the negative or you simply open the door for more negativity to enter your life.
- Replace to Erase – For each negative thought you notice, replace it with a positive one. This will not rid you of all your negative thoughts instantly but what it will do is create a habit over time. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones you are telling your mind (both conscious and subconscious) that negative thoughts are unacceptable. This will eventually lead to your mind replacing negative thoughts on its own without your conscious effort. For example: If you are thinking about how much you hate your job, switch that thought instead to the things you do like about it. Perhaps you enjoy the type of work you do, how close it is to home, or how supportive some of your co-workers are. If you are thinking about how your friend is always late switch instead to something more positive like her great sense of humor or outgoing personality. Each positive thought you have helps to overpower the negative ones by erasing the negative energy that these ‘bad’ thoughts send out. (We will go further into detail on ‘thought energy’ at a later time, so stay tuned and subscribe if you haven’t already.)
- Fight Fear with Action – One of the main sources of negative thinking stems from the words “I can’t.” I can’t often comes from fear (fear of failure, rejection or judgment) and can be debilitating and harmful to your personal life. Fight fear with action and action oriented words. Instead of saying “I can’t,” just go ahead and give it a try! Not much is truly impossible, if you put your mind to it you “can” accomplish anything. Replace words like ‘I can’t” or ‘I won’t be able to’ with ‘I will’ or ‘I’ll try’ this simple act alone will change your outlook and greatly improve your level of happiness. Consider the slogan of the top-selling show company in the world, perhaps Nike was on to something with the phrase “Just Do It!”
- Inspire Happiness – One of the simplest ways to increase the amount of positivity in your life is to surround yourself with things that inspire positivity. This applies to all areas of your life. Seek out art that makes you feel good, tack up inspiring quotes that inspire positivity, and surround yourself with people who have a positive outlook. We have all heard the phrase “Birds of a feather flock together”, this applies to those that you allow into your life. The more positive the people around you the easier it will be for you to be positive yourself. Fill your home, office and life with things that make you ‘feel’ good and remind you of all that life has to offer. Another great way to inspire happiness is by sharing it with others. A friendly smile or a simple hello is contagious, share your positive outlook on life and watch it come back to you with even greater power.
- Stop and Take Stock – Every once in a while we all need to stop and take stock of the things that take up time and space in our lives. These things can be material items, emotional baggage or physical people, the point is to take a look at all the things that surround your daily life and assess whether they have a place there or not. If they don’t offer you some form of positivity then cut them out of your life (people, objects and emotions) and if they do provide some sort of positive purpose, allow them to bring more by opening up to them and allowing them in deeper and more openly. By doing this regularly you will rid yourself of toxic items, people and emotions that weigh you down and create negativity over time. No matter how positive your mind, allowing negative elements into your life will inevitably impact your well-being.
- Avoid Over Analyzing – Many of us spend far too much time analyzing and reconstructing something that someone said or did to us. This act is a breeding ground for negativity. Through over-analyzing we tend to twist and contort things into something that they were never meant to be. Think back to high-school when a boy/girl you had a crush on called or spoke to you. Chances are you and your friends went over the entire conversation word-for-word analyzing each syllable until you had dissected every possible intention for the conversation. We tend to find negativity in words and actions that was not meant to be there, and we dwell on it even if it was part of the purpose. Negativity breeds negativity. It is because of this fact that focusing on one negative thought will always lead to other negative thoughts that soon spiral out-of-control. Instead of over-analyzing a situation simply let it go. If you can not let it go, or need clarification, simply ask for it rather than jumping to conclusions and focusing on a negative that may or may not even exist.
- Control What You Can – One lesson every person should learn is that “You can not control other people’s actions, you can only control your reaction to those actions.” Embracing this lesson will make a huge difference in your overall well-being. Write it down and post it where you will see it regularly if you must. Create a poster to hang at your desk, or write it in lipstick on your bathroom mirror. Live it and accept it as fact. Once you accept that you can not control other people and switch your focus instead to controlling what you can, yourself, you will find that negativity (especially other people’s) holds far less of an impact on your life. You may not be able to change the friend who is always late, the co-worker that is always complaining or the family member that is always putting you down, but you can control the way their actions make you ‘feel’ and how you are reacting to them. Don’t let other people control your emotions, make the choice to be the master of your own thoughts and feelings. If there is someone, or something that is constantly bringing you down then remove it from your life, or create distance where you can. Accepting that you can not change others will save you an ample amount of time and energy, and will probably reduce the amount of negativity you absorb greatly.
- Re-Vamp Your Vocabulary – The words we speak have a huge impact on our emotions. Words like ‘should’, ‘could’ and ‘might’ are indicators of negative thinking and should be erased from your vocabulary, or reduced in the very least. Each phrase you speak should resonate positivity and indicate some sort of action in the ‘now.’ Even simple phrases such as ‘Someday I will travel to Europe’ and ‘I will try to get this project done’ should be used with care. Positive thinking works best when used in the ‘now’, by focusing on the present and having your thoughts/words reflect an action or accomplishment, you are training yourself to avoid settling for anything less than success. Rephrase where you can, for example: “I might take a Yoga class” should be changed to, “I will take a Yoga class.” Positive action words inspire results and ‘force’ you to complete the stated action, making success more likely. There are obviously times when these phrases can not be avoided, but each time you catch yourself using them consider whether there is another way of phrasing the message you are trying to convey. Use your words as motivation and inspiration to yourself and those around you.
- Focus On Your Feelings – The way we feel physically can be an excellent indicator of our thoughts. You may not be able to pay attention to every thought that passes through your mind, but chances are you will be able to pay attention to how you are feeling. Make an effort to stop regularly throughout the day and assess the way you are ‘feeling‘, if you find that you are physically reflecting sadness, anger or frustration, take a moment to think about something that changes the way you feel. You can do this by recalling a happy memory, thinking about something you are grateful for or something you are looking forward to. Another way to change your mood quickly is to ‘fake it‘, paste a pretend smile on your face or laugh out loud, it is almost impossible to feel bad when you are smiling. This is a silly trick that works wonders for your emotional well-being.
In order to successfully utilize the tips listed above you need to understand the three areas of negative thoughts and learn what they look and sound like.
Negative thoughts about yourself consist of words like “I can’t,” ”I won’t be able to” or “I am not good enough.” These are the thoughts and feelings of not being good enough, not deserving enough or not being able to do something. These are the thoughts of low self-esteem and they tend to have the largest impact on your life of all the three types of negative thinking. The good news is that they are the easiest to spot, and therefore control.
Negative thoughts about others comes in the form of blaming others for your unhappiness. They are the people who cut you off in traffic, the co-workers who are trying to make you look bad, the family member who is out to get you, etc.. You blame them for your negative thinking, but it is your negative thinking that is the reaction to their actions, and therefore it is actually you causing the issues, not them.
Negative thoughts about the world is a combination of all other things that you think, say or do negatively. It is your guilt, your misery, your suffering. It is your complaints, your whining, and your dwelling on the past. This type of thinking encompasses the ‘it’s not fair” or “it’s just my luck” type of thinking and is often the hardest to stop because it is often rooted so deeply inside our minds.
Even with the tips above, the battle to rid your mind of negative thoughts requires ongoing effort and time. The exercises below will help you practice positive thinking and aid you in achieving your goal for a happier, more positive life.
Exercises to Help You Combat Negative Thinking:
- Embrace Meditation – Meditation can be an excellent outlet for stress and negativity. When most people think of meditation they picture Buddhist Monks sitting silently for hours on end, this form of meditation takes amazing discipline and is not realistic for most lifestyles. Meditation does not have to take up a large amount of time, and can usually be accomplished in any place and adjusted to fit every schedule. The basis purpose of meditation is to relax your mind and body, and allow positivity into your life. For the purpose of this exercise I suggest simply finding a quiet place that is free of distractions and focusing on your breathing. Clear your mind of all thoughts and allow your body to relax. Once you feel relaxed and your mind is clear begin to think about positive things that make you feel good. Perhaps you can think about all the things you are grateful for, goals you hope to achieve or things you like about yourself. The main goal is to get your mind relax and tuned into the positive aspects of life so it can stay in that state for more extended periods. There are many forms of meditation and you can find excellent resources online, experiment and explore the different options to find what works best for you. There is no wrong way to meditate, as long as you accomplish relaxation you are on the right track. How do you meditate? What have you found works best for you?
- Utilize Affirmations – The popularity of positive affirmations has greatly increased since the release of the book “The Secret” and the proven results of this exercise are extraordinary. The use of affirmations is a basic concept that can have a huge impact on your overall well-being. To utilize this tool you simply choose (there are thousands of positive affirmations available online) or create a positive statement (the key is that this statement is set in the “now” and promotes a positive goal/outlook) and repeat it daily until you feel the effects. You don’t need to sit and chant this phrase over and over, simply stating it at the start of your day, or writing it down and positing it where you will see it can often be sufficient. Some examples of useful affirmations are: “I rejoice in the love I encounter everyday.” “I choose to make positive healthy choices for myself.” “I am my own unique self – special, creative and wonderful.” You get the idea, state whatever it is as being true right now. You can create affirmations that remind you of how wonderful you are, or that push you to achieve a certain goal, the options are endless and the sky is the limit. If you can imagine it in a positive way you can use it as an affirmation. What positive affirmations do you use? How do you work affirmations into your daily routine? Consider starting a collection of affirmations that ‘speak’ to you so you can refer back to them and utilize them as needed.
- Get Creative – You can easily use your natural creativity to harness the power of positive thinking. One of my favorite projects to promote positivity in my life is through creating a vision board. Get yourself a large piece of paper, or a picture frame, and begin gathering words, pictures and items that inspire positive thoughts for you. Take these items and arrange them in this frame or on the piece of paper in a sort of collage. The outcome does not need to make sense to anyone but you so don’t worry about pattern or style, the aim is to create a collection of things that make you feel good. You can use this craft as a simple reminder of positive thinking or as a way to focus on your goals. There is a huge database of vision board ideas online that may be useful, or simply do what feels ‘right’ to you. Once you have completed this exercise hang the finished product somewhere you will see it everyday such as, your bedroom, kitchen or by the front door. It will serve as a reminder of all the things that make you happy and will promote positivity each day. Have you ever created a vision board? How did you do it? What was the result?
- Make a List – Lists are a fantastic way of emphasizing things that are important to you. You can create lists of anything, things you are grateful for, things you want to achieve, your favorite songs, inspiring quotes or positive affirmations. Always be sure that you make a list positive, never list the things that you don’t want or you run the risk of drawing attention to those things and bringing more of them into your life. For example: If you are hoping to find a mate create a list of all the attributes you do want in a partner not a list of the things you don’t. By listing positive things you are calling attention to them and thus inviting them into your life. Make lists of anything that makes you feel good, or reminds you of the positive aspects of life. What kind of positive things can you list?
- Let It Out – Another excellent way to rid yourself of negativity is to journal. Using a journal will allow you to release your negative thoughts without consequence. Get yourself a notebook or start a file on your computer where you can freely write your thoughts down. Vent, complain or share your dreams here without holding back. The only thing you should aim for when using your journal is to end each entry with a positive thought as not to hold on to your negative feelings. If you have written an entry complaining about your job end it with a positive thought such as, something you are looking forward to this weekend, a great co-worker that made you feel good or even a quote that makes you smile. Never close your book with negativity lurking in your mind or you could end up staying focused on that negative thought throughout the rest of your day and cause more unintentionally. Do you journal? How does it help you?
- Wake-up Aware – One of the easiest and most effective ways to bring positivity into your life is to start your day off on a positive note. One way of accomplishing this is to take a moment when you first wake-up to think of something be thankful for that day or something positive that you hope to accomplish. Every morning I wake-up and think of something that I can be thankful for that day e.g. my health, my family, etc. and something that I hope to accomplish that day e.g. Today I will spend some quality time with my children. It starts my day on a positive note and helps me get motivated for the tasks ahead. You may choose to do this simply by thinking about the things you have to be thankful for, or by taking a moment to write them down. You may also choose to think/list other things such as, things you like about yourself, a positive affirmation, a happy thought for the day, etc. This is also a great exercise for the evening before you lay down to sleep. What is your morning routine? Does it promote positive thinking? How can you bring more positivity to the start of your day?
Ridding your life of negative thinking is difficult to achieve and takes a great deal of personal effort, but the rewards are worth the time and energy it takes. Positivity is contagious and attracts more positive people, thoughts and things into your life. Seek out ways to allow positive energy into your mind and pay close attention to the thoughts you are thinking throughout the day. Turn around negativity when you notice it, and aim to infuse positivity on a regular basis to override the negative thoughts you are not aware of. The more positive thoughts you think consciously, the less negative thoughts your mind will create over time. The goal of living a happier, more positive life is a life-long journey, but paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and reactions is a huge step in the right direction. Seek out ways to feel good and find things that make you happy.
How do you allow positivity into your life?
What are some trick you have to stop negative thoughts?
Feel free to share your thoughts, tips, tricks and ideas in the comments section below or send submissions, questions or article ideas to:
Until Next Time…
Possibly Related and Helpful Articles:
- 10 Things You Must Let Go Of Today… (inspiredeverymoment.wordpress.com)
- Don’t worry, be happy (instyle.co.uk)
- The Power of Positive Thinking (zazenlife.com)
- Staying positive even on the bad days… (foxfires71.wordpress.com)
- THOUGHTS = POWER: YOUR THOUGHTS Are the Key to Using the Law of Attraction (valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com)
This is the first installment in the “Letting Go” series which will look more closely at the items on the “10 Things You Must Let Go of Today” list that was posted on this site, and how you can begin working to remove these negative, self-limiting behaviors from your life.
This post will look at Letting Go of Guilt and the simple steps you can take that will make it easier to release guilt from your life.
Guilt – a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc.
Whether real or imagined. (Dictionary.com)
How many people have found themselves lost in a sea of guilt because our actions have somehow harmed or hurt another person, whether intentional or accidental? I am willing to bet everyone has, at one time or another, experienced guilt on some level. Guilt is the natural result of negative actions, and is part of human nature. Guilt is to be expected when we have caused harm in the past through our words or actions, but it should not control the way you live your life in the future.
For some of us, thoughts of the things we have done to hurt others in the past can almost immobilize us. Some people are so controlled by guilt that they feel as if they have spent their life doing things that caused pain to other people. You can often be overwhelmed by guilt after deciding to make a change to your way of life and for many of us even the simplest actions can plague us with the pain of feeling guilty or wishing we had done things some other way. Guilt is a part of the emotional barometer and is often a tell-tale sign that the choices we are making are not the ‘right’ ones for us, but at other times guilt is a self-created barrier to success and happiness. Although guilt is a necessary part of growing, living and becoming a better person overall, it should not define who we are or hold us back from that which we hope to achieve. There is a fine line between necessary and pointless guilt, knowing the difference and learning to let go of unnecessary guilt can be a big part of living a happier and more fulfilled lifestyle.
Healthy feelings of guilt stem from actions on your part that caused harm, pain or hurt to another person. This form of guilt is a part of life for most people and is something that needs to be addressed according to severity. If you feel guilty for bullying someone when you were younger, calling your sister names, or stealing from a close friend you have options available to deal with these feelings and move forward with your life. You may choose to apologize to the people you have harmed and perhaps right the wrongs in some way. This is healthy guilt, and is a part of growing up and growing personally. It is only when guilt becomes pointless and irrational that it becomes a barrier to your true and full life.
Pointless guilt is often superficial. In fact, most of this kind of guilt is felt simply because we think we ‘should‘ feel guilty and not because we actually do. Guilt is based on morals that we create for ourselves and pick up throughout our lives. For example: You may have been taught that lying is wrong, and thus each time you lie you feel guilty. The same goes for sex, perhaps kinky sex, extra-marital sex, or sex in general were somehow built into your personal moral code and each time you cross the line on these created morals you feel as if you have done something wrong. If you were to truly consider every act in your life and assess the guilt factor for each of these actions you would be a miserable and depressed person who was constantly drowning in an overflowing pool of guilt.
So what should you feel guilty for and what should you not? Where do you draw the line?
The line for guilt is different for each person and often relates to a number of factors, such as, personal need, personal pleasure, choice, circumstance, situation, self-esteem and emotion.
In order to free yourself of pointless guilt there are a few simple things you must consider.
- First it is important that you assess the harm factor involved in the act that is causing you guilt. For example: If your best friend/wife/mother asked you if her outfit made her look fat and you lied and said “No, it’s great.” There is no reason to feel guilty…. Why? Because what is more important to you, lying or hurting your friend/wife/mother’s feelings? Weigh the pro’s and con’s.
- Secondly you need to consider what other options you had available at the time of the action that is now causing you the guilt. Perhaps you feel bad for the way you dumped your ex, maybe you feel you were too cold/harsh/honest. Consider the other options you had available. Would your ex-partner have taken it any other way? Would it have made your life better or worse? Would it have hurt them any less or more? Did you really have many other choices? If the action was appropriate to the situation, let it go! Sure you can apologize, but you can not take back what you did then and you can’t change the circumstances that surrounded you at the time of the action.
- Lastly, embrace reality. The fact of the matter is, you are never going to be able to change the things you did in the past, you can not right every wrong you caused, and you can not take back the hurtful words you have said. Dwelling on them does not change a thing. Sometimes the only way to free yourself of pointless guilt is to simply let go and accept that you made a mistake/misjudgment/choice and accept that you have to live with it. If there is no foreseeable way to correct the situation your actions caused or the only correction consists of creating a sophisticated technologically advanced time travel machine, than simply let it go and move on with ‘your’ life. Chances are the person you wronged has already moved on with theirs as well.
Keep in mind that often times the guilt we feel has more to do with ourselves than those which we feel we have harmed. Guilt is often a self-created reminder of all the things we wish we had done differently for ourselves. By simply accepting life as it is and living in the moment we can easily abolish much of the guilt we dwell on, and live a happier more fulfilled lifestyle everyday!
Until Next Time…
Simple Exercises To Help You Free Yourself From Pointless Guilt:
If you are having trouble saying good-bye to guilt try some of the ideas and exercises listed below.
- Write it down – Using a journal to sort your thoughts can be very useful when you are trying to rid yourself of pointless guilt. Write down all the things you feel guilty about and using the considerations in the post above weigh the pros and cons of the guilt and what you can do to fix it.
- Act out – Negative actions can be erased by positive ones. If you are feeling guilty about negative things you have done in the past make the future more positive. Volunteering, or charitable work is a great way to make yourself feel good while giving something to others in need. The gift of your time takes little effort but holds great rewards.
- Make amends - If you can not shake the remorse of you actions simply make amends. Contact the person who was most affected by your bad choices and apologize, or find a way to make up for the things you did wrong. You will never be able to change the past, but you can always show that you are sorry and try to change the “now”.
Questions, Comments, Requests and Submissions can always be sent to: email@example.com
Possibly Related Articles
- Where Is Your Guilt Coming From? (itakeoffthemask.com)
- Why do people use guilt to get what they want. (howtotrulylive.com)
- 10 Things You Must Let Go Of Today… (inspiredeverymoment.wordpress.com)
- Single Girl Society – Get Over Guilt (collegecandy.com)
- Hostage Negotiation With Guilt (psychologytoday.com)