Guilt is a useless emotion. Its focus is on feeling bad about things that happened in the past. Its energy is on something that you can’t control anymore. Of course, learning from past mistakes is important. However, once those lessons are learned, what else is there to do?
That’s why I’ve started keeping a Guilt Journal.
Every time I feel the tinge of guilt come across my body, I turn on my phone and log it. I note the time of day, the occurrence, the internal dialogue and what it is that I’m avoiding.
According to Wayne Dyer, author of ‘Your Erroneous Zones,’ emotions like guilt and fear are an avoidance of the present moment.
My goal is to understand and see the patterns of guilt. Does guilt arise when I’m bored or when I’m doing a task that I don’t enjoy doing? Only by writing them down will I be able to identify those patterns and focus on any underlying issues.
Keeping a guilt journal helps:
- Increase awareness: The simple act of identifying and pausing when I experience guilt is enough to start changing my behavior. The key is to acknowledge and not resist. This is similar to meditation.
- Analyse guilt objectively: Writing things down allows me to see direct links between emotions from multiple days. This allows me to identify any deeper underlying patterns to focus on. It’s the lead domino.
- Break old patterns: Once I’ve identified why I experience guilt, I’m better able to interrupt the old behavior and replace it with a new and empowering behavior.
The goal is not to avoid guilt. It’s to understand what’s causing the emotion, learn the lesson it’s offering and move on.
There’s too much time spent focusing on things that are out of our control.
How do you deal with erroneous emotions? Have you tried something like this in the past? Would you consider your own guilt journal? Let me know in the comments.