Self Help | Self Improvements | Personal Development

How to Stop "Feeling Guilty"

Do you ever get that guilty or "bad" feeling when you want to do something for yourself?

If so, you might be realizing that this feeling is keeping you from having more of what you want... or even from enjoying your life.

Well, thankfully you don't have to suffer with this guilty feeling every time that you try to do something to get ahead or to help yourself.

All you have to do is understand where the feeling comes from and what you can do to get rid of it as it can cause self esteem issues in the long term...

The Root of Guilty Feelings

There are two kinds of guilty feelings: valid ones and invalid ones. Valid guilty feelings are those you get when you do something that you know is out of alignment with your personal values and hinder personal development.

Believe it or not, these kinds of guilty feelings are your best friends. They remind you that you need to make a change in your behavior, and as long as you respond positively to them, they'll pass very quickly.

For example, if you're teaching people that borrowing money isn't a good idea and that debt is designed to keep people broke, but you're running up credit cards, you're going to feel guilty until one of two things happens: you either start being honest with yourself about the fact that you DO believe in debt, or decide to line up your actions with your behaviors or... go on feeling guilty because your actions are contradicting your personal values. The problem is that the longer you go on this way, the more desensitized you get to guilt and your level of self-trust begins to break down. So before you try to get rid of guilty feelings, it's a good idea to determine whether it's valid guilt or invalid guilt.

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If it's valid, use it as motivation to align your behaviors with your true values.

But, there are times when the guilty feelings are because other people are "making" you feel that way. In other words, your behaviors are out of alignment with their values, and they attempt to change your behaviors by convincing you that you're "selfish" for doing things for yourself or that you're "irresponsible" because you aren't living your life according to the same rules that they do.

The more you're exposed to these kinds of people, the more you begin to internalize the beliefs that they're right when they say that you're "selfish," "irresponsible," or whatever else they use to disapprove of the way that you're acting.Curing the Invalid Guilty Feeling

The cure for invalid guilty feelings is to realize that you're not responsible for other people's values, perceptions and opinions. You can't "make" anyone mad or sad or disappointed in you, those are all things which are their responsibility and not yours. The more you make yourself responsible for these things, the harder time you'll have letting go of the invalid guilty feelings.

No one has the right to tell you how to live your life or to make assumptions about what kind of a person you are just because they don't approve of your actions. Make a commitment to live your life as you see fit, and let other people deal with whether they like it or's not your problem.

So make it a point to analyze your guilty feelings and ask yourself if they're because of your own values or someone else's. If they're because of yours, you know that you need to change. It they're because of someone else's values, let that be their problem.

TIP: The guilty feelings will persist for a while even when you're practicing the above strategy. But that's just because the feelings take a while to catch up when it comes to changing your habits. Be persistent, and the feelings will eventually catch up.

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