Chris Croft
Tips of the Month Archive

Assertiveness Tip 11


You dont have to justify how you feel

You are responsible

I notice, I interpret

Faulty thinking

Persist like when training a puppy!

Your daily refresher

How to change yourself the first way

How to change yourself the second way

Being yourself

Its never too late to go back

Banish guilt from your life

Aggression it might be you!

You reap what you sow

Psychological games players

There are always two ways to see things - examples

Start small and build up

Banish guilt from your life - it's a negative emotion which has no benefits whatever!

Where did your guilt habit come from? Maybe your upbringing? But that's all behind you now isn't it? Or is there still someone in your life using guilt as a way to manipulate you? Do you want to put a stop to being controlled by other people, or, even worse, being controlled by your false belief about what other people might be thinking?

When you start to experience the feeling of guilt try some or all of the following:

1. Consider whether to change your actions. If you feel guilty about the state of your kitchen or the time you don't spend with your children or the lack of study time on your part time course, then you could always change your habits!

What's important to you? The children probably are, so you SHOULD spend the time - but if you always feel guilty however much time you spend then see (2) below. A bit more housework is an option, but you've got to decide what a reasonable percentage of your life housework deserves, stick to that (how about 15 minutes a week?) and then see (2) below. Similarly with the part time study - is your objective to do the best you can, or to scrape through with minimum work? Both are logical strategies, the choice is yours, but once you've made it, be happy with it (see 2 below) - or change it again!!

2. Resolve to be happy with things as they are. Basically you've got to either change the world or change how you see it. A good way to change the way you see it would be to say to yourself "It's MY life , I've made the right decision and I'm proud of it" or some similar mantra that you feel comfortable with. Well, comfortable isn't quite the right word, since the mantra is meant to disturb you slightly, to shift your mental position and give you more strength.

Examples of mantras for the examples above:
"No parent is perfect but I reckon I'm not bad. I spend quite a bit of time with my children and I enjoy it. However I reserve the right to do my other activities too."
"I've decided to spend 8 hours a week on my Diploma and that's what I'm doing. Some others are doing more work than this, some are probably doing less, and that's fine - that's up to them".
"Housework is not important in the big scheme of things, and considering it's way down my list of priorities I think the house is not bad. I'm comfortable with it, and that's what matters. What other people think of it is up to them"

3. The key is to make sure that what you do, and what happens to you, is kept separate in your mind from your view of yourself as a person. Things don't always work, and we make mistakes, but that doesn't make us a bad person. If your behaviour leads to an unsatisfactory outcome, and you link this to your Self, then you'll feel guilty (I'm a bad person, it's all my fault) but if you can keep it separate from your Self then you can think "I regret making those choices, but I can learn from this and do it better next time". So: whatever I do, and whatever mistakes I make, I'm still an OK person. I've just got to get better at some areas! And I will!

4. If a person has no guilt, does that mean they have no conscience? Clearly if you did terrible tings all the time and never felt guilty you would be a pretty bad person! In this case getting rid of guilt would not be a very good goal to have!

The opposite extreme is the person who doesn't feel guilt because he or she never does anything bad - a saint. This would be very hard to achieve!

I think a realistic goal of getting rid of guilt would be half way between the sinner and the saint. When it comes to stealing from a shop you should be the Saint - just don't do it - and when it comes to eating the doughnut you could be the sinner - do it and enjoy it. In neither case do you choose the guilt option of doing it and then feeling guilty.

So you don't have to be perfect, or disgraceful, to get rid of guilt.

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