Chapter 81

Don't Be A Slave To Guilt

Today's Empowering Quote

"We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the past when what we should do is let go of it, like Peter did.  Once you let go of guilt, then you go out and change the world."
-James Carroll

Today's Empowering Question

"What do I feel guilty about? Why? Isn't it about time I let it go?"

Today's Fast Session

Whew! There are a lot of things to feel guilty about aren't there?

We could feel bad about our thoughts, our mistakes, our failures. We didn't try hard enough.  We didn't make a decision soon enough and lost out on something we wanted.  We invested too heavily in one company, and its stock bombed.

Something we said or did deeply hurt another person.  We told an off-color joke.  We were responsible to hundreds or even thousands of others and somehow, we let them down.  It's endless.

And we die a thousand deaths over it.

It's true that our thoughts, words and actions can have negative consequences.

Fortunately, it's these consequences, thought out beforehand, that keep us from doing many things that WOULD hurt others as well as ourselves.

But we can't foresee EVERY bad result coming down the pike.  To err is human, as they say.

Knowing that, though, doesn't always (and for some people, it never does) make it feel any better when we make a blunder. Soooo, we get the guilt... which can be very useful.

But it's when we get overrun with guilt that we just get paralyzed, unable to forgive ourselves for this "heinous" act we performed.

As James Carroll said, St. Peter was able to forgive himself for denying Jesus and move on to take actions that changed the course of the world in a positive way.  If he had forever thought himself horrible and unable to make amends, our world could be very different today.

We're all exactly the same as Peter.

So many people make a mistake or say something in a fit of rage, and forever after define themselves by it.

We say that we ARE stupid, or we ARE a bad person, a lazy person, a selfish person. Guilt literally can put us behind bars in the sense that it takes away our freedom to choose our future actions.

We too often don't want to risk these mistakes again, so we stay quiet.  We don't voice our ideas, in case they wouldn't work out...  Because if they didn't work, not only would we feel stupid, but we would feel overly responsible for the consequences.

Yes, guilt and shame can be a vicious circle that can literally shackle our potential.

But because it's invisible, we usually don't see it.  We just think we're being wise... that we're protecting ourselves.

Have you ever wondered how people who are in the spotlight or who have been successful in business deal with their impactful decisions that turn out badly?

Well, the trouble with being well known is that your mistakes and blunders are also well known.

So how do these people treat their gaffs?

They put them in a perspective that minimizes them.  And as long as this perspective allows them to learn to not repeat the same mistakes over and over, they can go on and continue to be a top performer in their field... which can benefit themselves and others.

What would happen if a popular actress had a movie flop and decided she was the cause?  She may never want to risk that kind of failure again. She may start making incredibly bad career decisions... decisions that could potentially affect the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars.

If you are responsible for someone else's tremendous pain or bad situation, how do you go on and achieve a high degree of success, happiness or wealth without feeling guilty?

You don't. Feel the guilt. And learn from it.

But when you've learned what you need, give the guilt a shape, pop it in a jar, seal it up and throw it away.

Forgive yourself.

All our products are filled with statements about letting go of guilt and past hurts because unless you do, there is no risking, no effort, no accomplishment...

...And in the event that you do accomplish much, without self-forgiveness there is little joy in what you've done.  You just feel guilty about it.

There are too many good books on the subject for me to steer you toward any one in particular, but do some study on it.  Learn about how guilt is affecting you...

...Because you can be certain of one thing.  Guilt is negatively affecting your daily decisions to some degree.

And the extent to which you can lessen it is the exact measure of additional accomplishment and joy you will have in your life.

Many people will NEVER forgive you for your actions.  That's why YOU have to.

Right now, think of something great that you experienced in the last ten years that you had absolutely no concept of before you experienced it.  Remember what it was like during the experience? Stunning. Exhilarating.  You were
awe struck.

Well, when you can let go of the things you've done and move on with a clean slate, you will feel something that is possibly ten times greater than what you experienced back then.

Today's Winning Beliefs

-- I am a good person
-- I deserve happiness
-- I feel forgiven

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