Guilt is a very powerful emotion, just like all the emotions, if you are not aware of its power and tend to feel often, you may not even realize that it is the driving force behind everything you do and how you do it. Apparently for women it is more likely to rear its head than it is for men and this is usually because as women we are conditioned to be nice and play nice.
But before I go into why it exists let me just say that guilt – although it has a dark side to it – it also has a very beneficial part to it too. The feeling of guilt can illustrate a number of things – firstly, it can become your compass guiding you to what is right or wrong for you. Lets say a mother knows that she is not spending enough time with her child, her feeling of guilt may guide her back spending more time with the one that she loves. Without guilt she may end up abandoning the child and not caring for it.
Guilt also can stop people from killing each other as they think to themselves that they wouldn’t be able to live with themselves. In reality, they wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt.
However it is when guilt starts running you that it becomes dangerous if it permeates the different areas of our lives. It can stop people leaving relationships that they know are not right for them; it can stop people from living their true values and turn them into “a people – pleaser”; it can make them financially bankrupt as they do not feel deserving of the money that they either earn or are gifted and then spend it on things they don’t even need or invest it in appropriate schemes; it can manifest eating disorders as the feeling of guilt of nourishing themselves is all too much for them to bare; it can fuel thoughts such as “I am a bad person”. In short, if not managed or understood it can have you living in fear and dread.
The question is where does guilt come from?
Lets start with the first question. The root cause will usually start with how the mother / parents felt about the child they bore. If the child has any sense that they were not wanted then they will start to feel guilt for even existing. This is the most deeply routed out of all the types of guilt that we can take on and will usually permeate all other areas of their life. It can also come from society and religion - what is deemed right and wrong of how we SHOULD act which now resides in the collective consciousness.
Below are some of the most popular reasons as to why guilt manifests..
1) The belief that you have to be perfect
What if you were perfect already? What if the belief that you HAVE to be is just a belief? Beliefs are handed down to us from our parents and people around us, but do we need to believe them? No – believing that you have to be perfect will stop you from releasing that book you want to until it is perfect – in most cases it wont be – so this belief can keep you from moving forward. Also if you feel you are not perfect you will beat yourself and judge yourself making you feel pretty awful.