Formerly The Yoga Studio of Johnson County

Ending Guilt

Guilt is not a genuine emotion but made by humankind! When a therapist helped me to understand this a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. The genuine emotions, the professor of psychology said, are “intricacies” of Mad, Sad, Glad, and Afraid.

Society sometimes encourages us to put on a poker face. Do not show emotions? No! Stuffing our emotions makes us sick. It is important to feel what we feel either by talking it through with a trusted friend or writing in a journal.

It goes deeper. Often feelings of anxiety or even depression come from “stuffing” unrecognized feelings of anger. Often this “anger” is defined as a feeling we do not have the right to own. For example, how can I feel angry at my sick mother who “guilts” me into spending time with her when I really want to be home? If you feel guilt, reflect on the deeper feelings. Most often there is a wave of anger or hurt or even shame beneath it. If you feel tired all the time that may be another clue you are suppressing anger or guilt. It is energizing to get real with our true emotions. In yoga, we train the brain to observe the nature of the thoughts and feelings. All human kind has the same raw materials: thoughts, feelings, attitudes, choices, and beliefs. It’s what we do with these materials that make all the difference.

Avoid labeling a feeling as bad or wrong or too negative. It’s refusing to admit to these feelings that becomes harmful to self. We are human. We hurt, we fear, we doubt. Trust deepens as we become more and more aware of our deepest emotions. When life “works” we feel alive and enthusiastic in all areas of health, play, career, and love. Yet, it takes courage: the courage to follow your voice, your feelings, and your true self.

Love grows with deep and personal intimacy and honesty. Our self-love, self-respect and self-value flourishes when we own genuine emotions. Once the skill is learned, it becomes a habit. For surely we will be feeling Mad, Sad, Glad, and Afraid all of our lives. It’s how we learn in “Earth School.”

Four Steps to Healing Guilt

  1. Convert it to anger. Men in our culture have called an angry woman the “B” word (yet another manipulation!) It’s no wonder we stuff our anger. When the guilt button goes off pause and listen. There’s something deeper going on within you.
  2. Do not project the anger but own it. When anger comes up talk it through with a friend or journal your honest feelings. Acting out is truly a choice of ego stuck in adolescence. When genuine anger is recognized and acknowledged, change is instant. Layers of hurt, fear and sometimes shame heal.
  3. Say No. Three times this month my good friend and I put off lunch because of other priorities. We caught up on the phone. When we start to feel “overwhelmed” by commitments, projects, etc. “no” becomes the magic word.
  4. Forgive Yourself. The process of forgiveness begins with self to make deeper and broader change. In time, we may or not choose to forgive the person (s) who hurt us. It takes a lot of courage to admit how much we’ve been hurt. The deep wound heals when we love ourselves enough to forgive ourselves. Lastly, if you choose to forgive the other, remember we do not forgive “what” they did we forgive the “why.”
Suzette Scholtes - Yoga Director

Suzette Scholtes
Suzette Scholtes is founder and Director of Teacher’s Training at Yoga School of Therapeutics. She is author of many national columns and articles as well as published by New Leaf, Atlanta. She has earned over 8000 CEUs in her many studies worldwide. The school is a National Yoga Alliance Teacher’s Training School. The staff teaches classic yoga and related therapeutics to help each person strengthen inner resources for ongoing health, happiness, and quality of life.