It’s Ok To Feel Guilty
March 15, 2021
A weekend contemplation: Guilt is the voice of your conscience. When you feel guilty about something, it means that somewhere deep down, you have a regret about what you have done. Guilt is the rudder in your mind that helps you navigate the boat of your life in the right direction.
- You lose your cool with your spouse or your child, and you feel guilty. You value being calm, and guilt is your mind’s way of telling you that you could have been a better person by not losing your temper.
- After binge-watching an entire season of the latest web series, you feel guilty. It’s your subconscious mind’s way of pointing out to you that you lost control and gave into the pleasure when you could have used your time more productively.
- A colleague asks for your help on some matter. You refuse because you believe you have more pressing priorities. But, somewhere deep down, you feel guilty. Your subconscious mind is signaling that helping your colleague would have been the right thing to do.
Guilt is the emotion your mind uses to tell you that your behaviors and values are not aligned. It is a valuable feedback loop that helps you course correct.
How about situations where you feel guilty for the wrong things? E.g. Someone feeling guilty for taking a much-deserved break from work or a young mother feeling guilty going to work leaving a toddler at home.
Feelings of guilt can also emerge when there is a conflict in values. If being on top of your work is an important value for you and it conflicts with the value of spending time with your family, it results in a feeling of guilt. In such situations, the only way to eliminate guilt is by resolving the conflict in values. If you decide that spending time with family is more important, you will not feel guilty about taking the break. If you decide that being on top of work is a more important value, you will change your action and not take a break.
Resolving the dilemma of values is not easy. Society and the people around you impose their expectations, and many times you end up feeling guilty because of not being able to match those expectations.
Either ways, the feeling of guilt acts as a powerful feedback loop for your actions or values.