How to Handle Unnecessary Guilt

guilt over responsibility people pleasing Aug 17, 2022

If you're a people pleaser or someone who identifies with the tendency to be overly responsible for everyone and everything around you, you may be familiar with that nagging feeling of doing something wrong. Questions loom in your mind during every interaction:

Should I stay longer?

Am I including everyone?

Can I do more?

This feeling keeps you from expressing your needs, keeps you from leaving when you want to, keeps you from speaking up for yourself, and keeps you in the place of always giving more than you feel good to give. 

But they need help!

But family!

But my role is important!

But they need me!

But they'll guilt-trip me if I don't!

If you read last week's blog on How Over-Responsibility and People Pleasing is Hurting You, you know this isn't helpful for you or anyone, but how can we cope with the heaping pile of guilt that swallows you up every single time to even try to make a change? Here's how:

  1. Name it. I know, it's hard to look at. But calling out your guilt is how we address it. Until we look Voldemort in the face, his illusive presence is going to overtake our entire lives - you feel me? We NEED to face it. When you see it, admit it to yourself. Example: I'm feeling guilty about not hanging out with my best friend while she's going through a hard time because I need some time by myself and/or with my partner.
  2. Explore the source of your guilt. Where is it coming from? Where do you feel it? What does it bring you back to? Walk to the end of that guilt. What really happens if you don't do or do what you want? What's the worst possible outcome? Can you handle it? Isn't disappointing someone better than disappointing yourself? Is this guilt truly necessary?
  3. Find the lesson: what does my highest self have to say about this guilt? Meditate on this guilt. Ask for guidance from your highest, wisest self. See what your intuition has to say about how to transmute it or let it go.
  4. Try communicating. When I was in guilt-loop with my mom, I waited until I was centered again and let her know that I had this irrational guilt about not hanging out with her during my actual workday. Luckily, she took it super well and started even encouraging me to leave the room when I needed to go! I know that not everyone will receive your emotions this well, but sometimes letting people know how you're struggling and feeling helps soften the environment and keeps you from playing a weird game of hide and seek.
  5. Forgiveness. Forgive yourself for how you've held yourself back with guilt. You were trying to protect your loved ones. You're pure and good. You deserve more. They can handle it. Forgive yourself and give yourself some self-compassion to fuel your journey to freedom.

Need more help? Guilt can feel real sticky and it could totally be keeping you from your joy. Let's work on it together.

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