What worry and guilt really mean and an exercise to support yourself

I’ve lost count of the number of times over the years that I’ve had sessions with clients or people that I’ve spoken to who have expressed guilt or worry for something or other.

Such as guilt or worry for:

  • Not enjoying motherhood or working when your kids are in nursery or for the way you gave birth or fed your baby
  • Setting boundaries with you mother/mother in law/granny or someone else
  • Feeling emotions such as hatred, anger, frustration, resentment
  • Eating ‘bad’ food/meat or drinking alcohol or any other behaviour not seen to be optimal by society
  • Wanting more – wanting more money, better career, new house or car or clothes
  • Placing your needs over something else (ie mine is my tumble drier – I have to weigh up my electricity bill/environment vs my mental load/easy life)

Last week I read an “inspirational” quote about worry and guilt.

I thought it was shaming.

Like it’s bad to feel worried or guilty.

Or a waste of energy.

I see that a lot in the industry I work in.

Shame for having ‘negative’ feelings.

I don’t know why there’s a need to label feelings as good or bad – maybe they are just feelings.

My belief is shame about ‘bad’ feelings is what keeps you trapped.

As much as you might want to ‘redirect’ your thoughts into positive ones… it’s when you don’t process them rather than try to re-direct them, you’ll get stuck in them (hello ruminating thoughts and exhaustion and here is the real energy zap!).

Let me explain.

I’ll use my tumble drier here as an example as it’s super easy and I’m sure you’ve got some similar guilty pleasure.

What would it say about me if I used my tumble drier without a second thought?

Maybe that I was wasteful with money? Or the environment?

What does it say about me that every time I press the start button, I can feel a little voice inside me?

That I’m careful with money? That I care about the environment? Yes – right?

The same can be said for the mum that feels guilty about giving her kids beans on toast for dinner – that she cares and wants to get it right.

Or the person that feels shame for throwing away food – she cares about waste.

Or for the employee to turn off her email at 5pm – she cares about letting people down at work.

I see worry and guilt as something completely different.

I don’t see worry and guilt as ‘bad’ things.

I see them as a barometer for how much you care and want to get things right.

Now this is a bit complicated as it can also be laden with fear of judgement/anxiety etc and there can be really deep beliefs and programming going on here too.

Going back to the tumble drier – I might be worried about other people’s opinions on me for the luxury of a tumble drier or because they might perceive me as not caring about the environment. Or a belief I’m doing something ‘bad’.

Again – caring about other people’s opinions is HUMAN because you want to be ACCEPTED by everyone.

Here’s a helpful exercise whenever guilt or worry arises.

  1. Get clarity on what you are really worried about – right down to the bottom of the issue – so with the tumble drier, the surface issue might be that it’s bad for the environment, but it might be my fear that someone finds out how much I use it and thinks I’m lazy or don’t care so it’s actually a fear of judgement
  2. Speak to the inner part of you that’s activated and let it know it’s SAFE AND NORMAL to have these feelings
  3. Write down or use EFT – Even though I’m worried/feel guilty about…… I acknowledge I have this feeling and it demonstrates that I am a deeply caring person

That easy three part exercise should allow you to move on very quickly – much much much quicker than shame or getting cross with yourself.

Hope that helps. If you would like to work together, please get in touch below!

Much love, Tricia xxx

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