Thursday, January 15, 2009

Unload your guilt

Guilt is often a hard emotion to release. There is always something about it that lingers. One of my therapists used to tell me how useless guilt was. I'm sure there are certain instances where guilt is useful, however, for many of us, it only causes more anguish, feelings of less worthiness, and sadness. Then, we just continually beat ourselves up about it.

Psychcentral had an interesting post from blogger Therese Borchard of Beyond Blue
. She talks about the difficulty of letting go of guilt, especially in attribution to her OCD tendencies. She made a youtube video of a visualization her therapist gave her. The visualization is a backpack full of rocks representing all the things you feel guilty about. The rocks are different sizes depending on the amount of guilt you feel.

The idea is that when you are feeling guilty about a certain issue that you visualize taking that rock out. After you take out the rock(s), things will feel lighter, and hopefully some guilt is released. Therese does make the realization that the backpack may always be there, but it won't contain so many heavy rocks but maybe just a few smaller, lighter ones.

Take a look at the video and see what you think. Sometimes, visualizations can be helpful to expressing our emotions. It's one reason why I did the feelings in a bottle post recently.


Kim said...

I've also had therapists tell me how useless guilt is. It's only purpose is to make us feel bad. I get "weighed down" (quite literally) with guilt over little things. If I turn down an invite, I feel guilty. If I leave work early, I feel guilty. Guilt just leaves to a lot of beating up on myself, which is why I think guilt is one of the eds closest friends. Guilt comes from me thinking I'm supposed to be a certain way. If I didn't have all these "shoulds," I wouldn't have the guilt that comes along with disobeying a "should." That's a nice goal -- should-free and guilt-free.

Kara said...

I think there are two types of guilt - healthy guilt and unhealthy guilt. The difference is that healthy guilt lets you know that you have done something "wrong" (like lying or whatever), but then it doesn't lead to shame. Unhealthy guilt leads to shame and that's not good.

Tiptoe said...

Kim, ahh, if we could only have a should-free and guilt-free world. "Shoulds" have always been one of my detriments as well, though I am better than in the past. Then, every word out of my mouth was based on a feeling of "should."

Kara, guilt can definitely have the good and bad associations to them. We just need to learn to let go of the unhealthy guilt.

Lola Snow said...

I used to get guilty alot but most of it was down to depression, but there are sometimes now where I get guilty over absolute trivia for no reason, and find it realy hard to let go. It is one of the strangest feelings.

Lola x