Do you wish you could stop feeling guilty all the time? You are not alone!
Guilt is a topic that comes up a lot in my coaching sessions.
First, it’s important to recognise that there are two types of guilt.
The first type of guilt happens when we do something that is not in alignment with our values. It is our body and mind’s way of telling us to NOT behave that way again. That guilt is valid and healthy.
The second type of guilt is typically a response to someone else’s disappointment. We feel bad because somehow, we think we are responsible for the other person’s unhappiness.
I am no stranger to that second category. I used to feel like there was no barrier between what I was feeling and what people I loved were feelings. The moods, the fears, the emotions, I was catching everything!
In my head, I justified it as being caring, empathetic. But here is what I didn’t understand back then: to be empathetic, there needs to be a boundary between what someone else is feeling and where our feelings start.
We cannot have empathy for others if we take responsibility for their feelings. How someone feels is the sum of their own beliefs, their history and a specific context.
A simple way to help you start separating your internal emotional landscape from that of others is to state out loud what’s happening:
I hear you are disappointed. I know it’s hard for you.
I can see you are frustrated, I totally get it.
It might feel awkward at first, but it’s a little bit like learning a new language. The more you practice it, the more natural it becomes.
The road to emotional freedom is full of teeny tiny steps! It’s all about progress, not perfection.