Give Yourself Permission And Let Go Of The Guilt
What if I told you: Guilt is a made up feeling and doesn’t really exist.
I know… that’s a pretty bold statement and it can be a tough thing for a lot of people to wrap their head around, but hear me out.
Guilt, it only exists when you are thinking you should or shouldn’t have done something, or you should think or feel differently than you do – past based thinking.
Guilt shows up when you are resisting owning a personal truth and doing the things you’d have to do to honour it. When you stop judging what you did from a place of should/ shouldn’t or right/ wrong, magically the guilt disappears…
It’s easier than you might think, especially if you have a pretty solid handle on what your personal boundaries are.
Check out my article on How To Stop Feeling Guilty if you’re still struggling to work out the difference between your Moral Boundaries (those that are imposed upon you by the world around you) and Personal Boundaries (which are determined by YOU and stem from your personal values and principles.)
Once you’re clear on what your own personal boundaries are, it’s simply a matter of learning to hold them in an empowered way. If you can let go of self-judgment and start honouring your personal boundaries instead, you’ll be well on your way to cutting guilt off at the knees.
In order to make that leap, the first thing you’ll have to wrap your head around is: when you say ‘Yes’ to something that is out of alignment with your personal boundaries, you are in effect saying ‘No’ to yourself. Meaning:
Stop making someone else’s wants and needs more important than your own!
Constantly being a yes-person and denying your own needs creates major internal discord that can develop serious consequences as over time. Denying who you really are and what’s important to you, for any period of time, can lead to things like: resentment, contempt, frustration, disconnection, isolation, anxiety, and depression – none of those being desirable experiences.
To avoid that and move forward, the next puzzle piece is putting your personal boundaries into action… by actually saying ‘No’ to someone.
Keep in mind that the first time you say ‘No’ to someone you’ve been saying ‘Yes’ to for a long time, it will likely feel similar to the first time you asked someone to dance or out on a date… uncomfortable, risky, and awkward. All you need to know is that feeling nervous, anxious, or even panicky is totally normal and simply means you’re taking a step in the right direction!
This is YOU moving forward into your personal power and living a powerful life!
To make that shift you’ll have to step out of your comfort zone.
You actually have to have some conversations!
I often get asked for advice about how to start conversations or phrase things for situations like this. Here are some options to start you off as you begin curing your disease-to-please.
Starting the conversation:
(Keep in mind that you want to sound like yourself so I recommend practicing out loud and making adjustments as needed.)
- I appreciate that you thought to ask me and…
- Thank-you for the offer and…
- I’m flattered that you asked and…
- It’s nice to know you wanted to involve me and…
* Notice the word ‘but’ is not being used in any of those examples. I strongly recommend replacing the word ‘but’ with ‘and’ every time. At first it will sound weird, and I promise you’ll get used to it. Plus the positive impact it will have on your relationships will be worth the effort – trust me!
- Unfortunately I can’t commit to that right now.
- I have other priorities at the moment.
- Let me think about it first and get back to you.
- That doesn’t meet my needs at the moment.
- I’m likely not the best person to help you/ do that.
- Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something.
- Unfortunately I’m not available.
- Thank-you for thinking of me!
- I’m flattered that you thought of me.
- I’ll definitely keep you in mind for the future.
- Can we look at another date/time?
- Have you thought about asking ____?
Of course there’s always the basic: “No, I can’t” or “No, I won’t.” That’s a fail-safe approach in delivering your message. Unfortunately sometimes that can come across as harsh, defensive, or cold… Likely not the impact you’re trying to have and also the reason people avoid saying no and become people pleasers in the first place.
Now it’s your turn to go out and practice… If you’re having trouble figuring out where to start, here’s a question to get you started: If you could say no to someone or something, with absolutely no hard feelings or negative consequences, who or what would you say no to?
- Is there a project you would give up?
- A relationship you would end?
- A date you might break?
- A commitment you would renegotiate?
Whichever situations pop into your mind are likely opportunities for you to start the practice of honouring yourself and your personal boundaries, saying yes to your needs.
Finally, it’s no accident I’ve been using the word ‘practice’ throughout this topic. Learning to say ‘No’ without guilt will be a practice.
You’ll have to practice to get better at it. You’ll also have to fall down and get messy sometimes in order to keep moving forward.
Just keep your eye on the prize: A guilt-free life!
Until next time ,
How’re You Doing?
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