Today, I’m going to show you how to eliminate guilt and practice forgiveness. So you’re getting two for one today.
Guilt is normally that nagging feeling where you feel bad for something you did. Maybe you did something that you wished you hadn’t or violated someone’s values. Or perhaps you violated your own values. Anyhow, it occurs often for people when they did something that they feel like they shouldn’t have.
Many people waste valuable time, energy, and resources feeling guilty. Call me crazy but I don’t believe in guilt. It seems like a bad idea all the way around. If I screw something up or do something wrong, I want to take action to make it right. I want to apologize and make amends. The key here is taking action to solving the problem. Instead of letting something eat away at you, take action to solve the problem.
If something is wrong, make it right. Do whatever it takes. Putting yourself in your own doghouse and feeling bad solves nothing and it just leaves you feeling bad. See, many people are under the false impression that…”Well, as long as I feel guilty about this and suffer, all will be good.” Nonsense. What a bunch of baloney.
Here’s an example to hammer home this point – Say my office co-worker Damon gets a shiny new car and proudly shows it off to me. Without thinking, I remark, “That’s sure a nice car Damon. Have you seen the other car that [our other office worker] Bob is driving now? It sure is a beauty too.” Damon’s proud smile melts into an offended frown as if I had stolen the limelight from him by pointing out Bob’s car. So Damon is offended that I talked about Bob’s car during “his moment”. Well, feeling offended is his choice. Fine.
So I can go back to my cubicle and feel like a heel. I can beat myself up. I can replay this rotten experience in my mind over and over. Have any of you done this at all? I can see a few of you reading this nodding right now as you read this article on your computer screen. Very good. Thanks for being honest. But me feeling rotten doesn’t do any good. Doesn’t help Damon. Doesn’t help me.
Am I supposed to go up to Damon and say, “Hey, regarding that comment that offended you. It’s ok for me to make those sort of comments as long as I treat myself poorly and beat myself up later. It’s ok for me to offend you so long as I feel bad afterwards. [This way, we can both feel miserable together. Boohoo.]”
Here’s the right way to go about it. I walk up to Damon and say, “Hey Damon, I really like your car. I apologize for mentioning Bob’s car when you were proudly showing your car. I didn’t mean to ‘steal your thunder’. I’ll be more considerate in the future.” So instead of Damon feeling bad and me sulking in my guilt doghouse, we each feel good.
And then I resolve to be more sensitive to Damon when communicating with him in the future.
Simple. If something doesn’t work, apologize, make amends, and fix it. Action. Stop sulking in guilt. Guilt sucks. Guilt only exists if you believe in it. I don’t believe in it. Eliminate it from your model of the world.
If someone else tries in vain to make you feel guilty (of course they really can’t because you control your emotions, right?), here’s what to say to them – “You’re not trying to make me feel guilty, are you?” This acknowledges that you won’t be a guilt thrower or guilt catcher. Voila…there’s no place left for guilt to exist!
So there’s how to solve guilt. Congratulations, you never have to feel guilty again. Sure, you’ll still make mistakes. I make ‘em all the time. It’s just that now we can be resourceful and move forward instead of getting stuck. Yeehaw!
Now I want to tell you how to practice forgiveness. Forgiving someone is one of the best things you can do. It frees you up to spend your valuable time, energy, and other resources are producing fantastic new relationships, creating more happiness, and reaching your goals.
Picture a guy dragging his leg as he’s walking because his leg is attached to an iron ball and chain. This is what happens to us psychologically when we don’t forgive and when we drag along grudges with us. Have you ever held a grudge? Boy, I know I have. I used to be a world champion grudge holder. I might’ve even made the “Hall of Shame For Holding Grudges”. And it was the biggest burden to drag along with me on this journey of life.
So what happens when you cut the chains, free yourself of grudges, and practice forgiveness? Well, instead of trudging along the highway of life with all these voluntary burdens that we’re carrying, we’re sprinting down the road of life with more love, laughter, and joy in our lives. Does this sound like a plan you’d like to sign up for?
Well then, do it! Here’s how to practice forgiveness. It’s not rocket science. Make a list of people who’ve wronged you. Chances are, if you’re around someone long enough, you’ll give them ample opportunity to transgress against you. To do wrong against you. Well, that includes probably almost everybody of importance in your life. Right?
Take your list of all these people and forgive them. Forgive your parents. They raised you the best they could for what they know. Forgive your siblings. Forgive your spouse. Forgive your kids. Forgive your boss. Forgive your co-workers. Forgive yourself. Are you catching the pattern here?
Here’s the neat thing. If someone has really done a “doozy” on you and done something to you which you believe is “unforgivable”, let me share with you a secret that changes everything.
Forgive them…for yourself. Let me repeat that because I really want you to get it. Forgive them…for yourself. Yes my dear reader, you can forgive someone else for selfish purposes! What you’re doing when you’re forgiving them is that you’re saying that you’re no longer willing to spend your valuable time, energy and resources thinking about them and dwelling on them and what they did against you.
Having done that, you now have plenty of more time, energy, and personal resources to devote to achieving your goals, creating more success, and forming positive, lasting relationships with those who truly matter in your life.
Forgiveness can happen in a split second. It’s a decision. Just give up the burden. Bam…it’s gone.
Here’s specifically a process to forgive someone. Use it if you like.
1. Call, write, or meet the person and tell them that you’ve forgiven them.
2. Tell them that you no longer hold whatever it was against them.
3. Congratulate yourself for making the decision to live without harboring grudges anymore.
OR…if you don’t want to personally contact the person. You can forgive them in your mind for the same effect.
1. Close your eyes and relax comfortably.
2. Picture that person in your mind.
3. Get close to that person and speak to them, telling them that you forgive them.
4. Give them a hug and send them on your way.
4. Congratulate yourself for making the decision to live without harboring grudges anymore.
Kent Sayre is a worldwide persuasion expert and author of the bestselling book “Unstoppable Confidence” endorsed by such celebrity authors as Brian Tracy, Robert Allen, and Jim Rohn.