The sense of inferiority and the sense of guilt are exceedingly difficult to distinguish.
We all feel guilty every now and then. It's a natural response, and it’s appropriate when you do something that goes against your values. Your conscience makes you feel uncomfortable when you disobey rules that you believe you should obey. But remember, guilt implies choice.
That’s where unhealthy guilt comes in. Unhealthy guilt often rears its ugly head when your self-
esteem is a little bruised. You blame yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility – things that you can’t possibly control.
Do you link yourself to the moods of the people around you and have a twinge of guilt if they’re not happy? Does guilt make you dance around trying to cheer up a crabby spouse and cranky kids? Are you certain they’re in a bad mood because of something you’ve said or done? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, try to remember that everything isn’t your fault...you just don’t have that kind of power. And it’s not your responsibility to make everyone feel better.
If your family isn't happy, it's not your fault. You don't need to fix your spouse's life. You're not responsible for your child's success in college, in business or in a relationship. Your family, your spouse and your children are responsible to and for themselves. By taking responsibility for others, you encourage them to be dependent on you, which doesn't help you...and it doesn't help them.
Remember, there’s only one person you’re responsible for – and that person is you. So don’t punish yourself for imaginary crimes. The REAL crime is punishing yourself with guilt. Get off the guilt train by reminding yourself that you are not responsible for the happiness of others, and start fostering happiness in yourself.
~~~ Weekly Challenge ~~~
Make a list of things you feel guilty about.
Next to each item, indicate whether or not you can control it now or could have ever controlled it in the past.
If the item is something you are responsible for, write down what you can do to make things right, and then do it.
If the item is something that’s outside your area of responsibility, give yourself permission to let it go.
Once you get off the Guilt Train and let it leave the station without you, you will feel a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders.
If you feel nagged by guilt about anything, try the steps above and let me know how they worked for you. I'd love to hear your stories.
IT IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD!