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In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk about how so many of us have got into a cycle of feeling bad about ourselves. Guilt has become the currency of our relationships, and it’s bankrupting our self-esteem to keep doing everything from a place of feeling guilty.

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Nuggets from the episode

  • Feeling guilty all the time is a habit. It then becomes our default label even when we don’t actually feel guilty or have a reason for doing so.
  • Boundaries are not just about saying no, telling people off and letting people know when we have a problem! They’re for us. They let us and other people know what is and isn’t permissible. They help us communicate who we are and to choose the people and things that align with our needs and desires.

We can’t feel guilty all the time and also have healthy boundaries at the same time. Why? Because near-constantly feeling guilty is a co-dependent mentality.

  • When we consistently do things from a place of guilt, it means that we use feeling bad to drive our life. How can we expect to know what we need or want when everything that we do is as a result of activating our conscience and feeling shame and guilt?
  • A lot of the things that we say we’re obliged to do and the rules we follow aren’t real rules or obligations.
  • Having a parent that treats us like an extension of them breeds guilt into us. By being enmeshed with a parent who doesn’t let us have our own identity, we learn to feel bad about anything that indicates our separateness. Saying no, growing up, having our own life, is seen as threatening.
  • Any role that we play within our relationships facilitates the roles that others have. When we feel guilty, it’s often because we think that we’re letting the other person down in some way because we’re going to stop them from being able to continue their role in that moment.
  • People-pleasing and playing roles are all about showing other people how to behave. We’re dropping hints about what we want them to be and do.
  • Feeling guilty all the time, especially around boundaries, having needs and self-care is emotional blackmail of the self.

If everything has to be about us feeling bad, we’re saying that we’re never allowed to feel good.

  • We will, of course, feel guilty on occasion about certain things with loved ones. This is more than OK. We don’t, however, need to use guilt as our way to love people.
  • Guilt is an easy emotion to reach for. We need to be more honest about where we’re avoiding vulnerability and feeling our feelings.
  • A lot of people who feel perpetually guilty are avoiding their potential, purpose or taking the next step or moving on to the next stage of my life. They’re avoiding getting back out there or getting hurt.
  • It’s not our job to go around cotton-woolling everybody and managing their discomfort. We’ve got to stop preventing people from feeling.
  • Breaking our cycle of feeling perpetually guilty means recognising the difference between desire and obligation. If we can’t turn an obligation into a desire, we need to be honest with the person, revise our motivations, or say no.
  • Doing things from a place of guilt always leads to resentment. And resentment is a sign that we did something for the wrong reasons. It means that our guilt was unwarranted or that maybe we weren’t feeling so guilty after all.

Links mentioned

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