Understanding Guilt and How it Sets You up for Failure

Guilt comes in many shapes and sizes. Most of us are well-acquainted with that disturbingly unhappy feeling that creeps up on you sort of unannounced, to make you aware of something you did, that you should not have done. And it just grows and grows on you, no matter how hard you try to shake it off. When you understand how guilt can set you up for failure and unhappiness in life, you will make dealing with guilt a job of the highest importance.

Failure to stop guilt in its tracks as soon as it raises its ugly head will mean that failure soon becomes your constant companion in all that you attempt in life.

But this guilt is a very important part of our behavioural programming that helps us integrate into society and keeps us from infringing upon other peoples’ rights and freedoms. This kind of guilt does not drag you down. On the contrary, it helps you fit in as a responsible member of society. Once you address the issue that caused the guilt and make suitable amends, the unhappy feeling goes away without causing any harm.

Other Forms of Guilt Can Lead to Failure

However, there are other forms of guilt that are deceptively insidious, not easily recognizable and cause tremendous damage to your self-esteem. It is the damaged self-esteem in turn that prevents you from living and enjoying life to your fullest capacity. 

But what is this feeling of guilt that is different from the other? It is the limiting feeling of being “undeserving”.

This feeling of “low self worth” can originate from various sources, but most especially from negative conditioning. Thoughtless and unkind behaviour from family and peers inflicted upon the impressionable mind of a child in the formative years could lead to feelings of low self-worth. 

Feelings of Unworthiness Can Program You for Failure

Have you ever noticed the range of emotions that you experience when you receive an unexpected gift or a happy surprise? After the initial happiness wears off, you start analysing the event.

Your child may have given you the gift, but you start telling yourself that it should have been you giving the gift to your child, as a parent. Or it could have come from your parents. Then you start worrying about your parents going beyond their budget, since they’re retired. It is really not funny when you stop to think about all the non-essential considerations that crowd our minds at times like these.

By the time you’re through, you start feeling like you were an unworthy recipient. You are never the same thereafter.

Once this builds up, you may suddenly realize that happy, fortuitous little happenings such as these that used to be commonplace in your life before, have somehow become few and far between. You are now at the other end of the scale. Even when you consciously desire something good and simple in life to make you happy, it just does not happen. You are conditioned for misfortune.

These feelings then tend to spill over into other areas of your life. They actually change the way that you look at the world. You start feeling guilty if you don’t go to your place of work every day. Why? Because the general feeling is that you have to work hard to earn a living. Soon you have to deal with the fear of losing out. That if you slowed down a bit, you would not get paid. And then, the underlying feelings of lack and the fear of poverty take over. Simple pleasures of life that you actually enjoyed earlier, now tend to make you fearful and guilty.

Remove Guilt Promptly and Turn Your Life Around

But, don’t worry. If you are able to see the problem, you will also be able to do something about it. You have arrived at this stage though a gradual and barely noticeable process of progression. Thus, you can also get out of it in similar manner. It is a two-step process.

The first step is to know that these circumstances didn’t just sneak up on you of their own accord, but that you were the actual cause that set them in motion. You are always the cause of your circumstances. What you habitually think about, you actually get to see in life, sooner or later.

The second step is to keep a sharp watch on all that you think. Every time you catch yourself drifting off into murky waters that you would definitely not like to see reflected in your life, deliberately turn your attention to the things that inspire you and make you happy.

Create Good Habits to Remove Guilt and Avoid Failure

In due course, you will also come to realize the strong role that habit plays in our lives. You will be able to leverage the power of habit to change you life. We are creatures of habit. Our habits can either destroy us or make us happy. Everything we do is the result of habit. Everything we are today is the sum total of habit. Habit is no more than reinforced belief that comes from countless hours of repetition, till it is mindless, spontaneous and dependably automatic. Long after the habit has firmly set-in, you would have even forgotten the initial thoughts and actions that started its existence in the first place.

The only way around this tendency is to keep a constant watch on the thoughts we think. We need to look for the triggers in our behaviour that cause us to sabotage ourselves.

Most of all, we need to realize that some behaviours may look virtuous and desirable on the face of it. But, they may not build us up in the long run.

Like being self-sacrificing…

Self-sacrifice is a Symptom of Guilt – an Invitation to Failure

Self-sacrifice may look pretty good, if you are seeking to make an impression. But, you soon get to experience the sad fact that you don’t get to be choosy in the matter. If you sacrifice once, then you have to sacrifice always. You really don’t get to keep that which appeals to you and sacrifice that which you don’t want. And this is the whole crux of the problem.

The Greater Mind that sustains life, thinks in absolute terms. It cannot think in relative terms, else it would not be the Greater or Universal Mind. And so, the little things that we think about on a regular basis, become the defining nature of our thought life. Once this negative pattern gets established, it gets interpreted by Greater Mind as an insistent demand that is seeking fulfilment. Negativity then becomes the general fabric of our lives.

Detachment is the Key to a Powerful Life Without Guilt

The lesson to take away from all of this is that one should never be judgemental. Judgement implies attachment. Neither judge the good things that happen to you. Nor the bad things.

For the good things that happen to you, accept it joyously. Reach for the feeling of happiness in the moment. Enjoy it fully.

Detachment is the only way to deal with unhappy events in life. To condemn or judge it would only cause you to relive the incident, perpetuate its presence and delay its departure.

Interestingly, behaviour that portrays the character of self-sacrifice, usually stems from the deeper, unnoticed belief of “lack”, that there is not enough to go around.

If you feel that there is not enough “to go around”, you then feel the need to “give up your share”, so that the ones you love can have it. That, though, in and of itself is a limiting belief that is deceptively benign in nature, but dangerously self-defeating.

Subconsciously, you begin to believe that there never is enough.

And guess who always has to sacrifice?

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