How to Stop Feeling Guilty
Have you ever experienced mom guilt? It’s one of the topics that comes up frequently with my clients, and I’m willing to bet it is something nearly every mom has felt more than once.
I want to shed some light on the reasons behind mom guilt and give you a different perspective.
What is guilt?
Guilt is a normal human emotion. Our lower brain will always try to talk us into feeling bad about ourselves. But I want you to recognize that when you feel guilty, you have the power to get out of it more quickly and to decide to move into action.
While guilt may be a normal emotion, the number one thing I want you to know is that feeling guilty is not serving you in any way.
There is a false notion that guilt helps you do better. We tend to believe that the feelings of guilt will help you do better or get back on the right path.
But here’s the thing: guilt is an indulgent emotion and actually keeps you stuck.
So how do we stop feeling guilty?
Guilt is just a feeling
The first step is to recognize that guilt is a feeling. Feelings are just vibrations in our body that are caused by our thinking.
For example, I yell at my kids, and then I have a stream of consciousness that makes me feel bad and guilty. I could look at it and think, well, it was my actions. It was actually the yelling or even the kids themselves and what they were doing that caused me to feel guilty.
That’s just not true!
Guilt comes from your thoughts
You're not really feeling guilty because you yelled at your kids. You’re feeling guilty because of the thoughts you are thinking after you yell.
We need to identify what is a circumstance and what is truly our thinking about that circumstance.
It’s ALWAYS your thoughts that are causing the feeling of guilt.
So, if we want to learn how to stop feeling guilty, we have to realize the true cause of guilt is self-imposed.
So, let’s take an example of yelling at the kids. Before you became a mother, you probably didn’t ever imagine yourself becoming frustrated, irate, or yelling. But then we become a mother, and we find ourselves not understanding how our emotional health influences the way we show up. We maybe didn’t understand what circumstances motherhood would bring and how they might trigger these kinds of thoughts, feelings, and actions toward our kids.
Perhaps you might have thoughts like, “I wouldn’t be like this if they would just clean up,” or “If they would just listen to me the first time, I wouldn’t have to raise my voice.
Then, when we do raise our voice, we have a thought like, “They’re so frustrating!” and it creates anger in our bodies, and we yell.
But, that yelling is a result that we’ve created for ourselves.
Then after we yell, we keep the thought pattern going by thinking things like, “Good moms don’t yell,” “Why can’t I control myself,” or “This isn’t how it should be.”
Those are the thoughts that keep us stuck! Those thoughts are the ones that create the feeling of guilt.
The important part to remember is that you will not take better actions when you continue to think that way.
You will stay stuck and spend the rest of the day, or sometimes the whole week, reliving how the situation went down and picking it apart. You’ll waste precious energy putting yourself down and feeling shame about it.
It’s just not useful. It’s not useful for you. It’s not useful for your kids.
Breaking free of the guilt cycle
So instead of staying in this guilt cycle, can we open ourselves up to other things that are just as true?
Some examples of thoughts could be:
- There I go being human again.
- Moms get frustrated sometimes.
- I don’t have to be perfect to be worthy.
There are other thought options that don’t create guilt for you.
As an added bonus, when we view our mistakes this way, it helps teach our kids that it’s okay to make mistakes, be human, and then show remorse and apologize. They need to see examples of this in their lives, and staying out of the guilt cycle helps you provide that for them.
A plan to let go of guilt
Now that I understand that my thoughts create my feelings of guilt, and I have unlimited power to change those thoughts, the amount of time I spend feeling guilty has drastically lessened.
I love to turn my thoughts to the scriptures, which tell us, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
This tells me that if you turn your thoughts to Christ, you can see that he doesn’t want us to stay in old patterns. Instead, he wants us to know that it’s okay to move on.
In Psalms 103:12, we read, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
I love to turn my thoughts to heaven and say, “Lord, I”m not feeling so great, and I’m not showing up the way I want. I’ve done some things I’m not proud of, and I’m sorry. I need your help.”
Going there in that moment helps direct my thoughts, and I also love to believe that he immediately holds me and tells me he understands.
Going to scripture or prayer is a great way to help step out of this guilt that you’re feeling, but you know what kind of plan you need when you find yourself trapped in guilt. Perhaps it’s spending some time in nature, exercising, or participating in your favorite hobby.
Let your mind and heart guide you to what will be more helpful than guilt. No matter what you’ve said or done, you can always bring it back to, “Now what do I want to do about it?”
Guilt stops progression
Remember, guilt always stops progression. It will always keep you stuck. It doesn’t serve you, your family, or anyone you care about.
I would like to challenge you to make it your mission not to stay in guilt.
Find whatever it is you need to think about so that you can feel better and take action that gives you a result that you actually want instead of one that keeps you stuck.
That is how we genuinely improve and show up better each day.
Want to try life coaching? Bring me something you are currently struggling with in your mom life and get immediate relief on this free call. If you’re ready to get started, learn more about my free peace strategy call here.
And if you need a quick lift this minute? Download my Go-To Scripture Cheatsheet and get back on track to the happy, holy mom you want to be.
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