Guilt will always manifest itself ten-fold, if it’s not addressed. Dealing with guilt is not something we easily manage or remedy either.
Symptoms of Guilt
Guilt interferes with our thoughts and feelings. It’s responsible for denial, responsible for harbouring resentment, particularly if the resentment comes from another person’s behaviour that we unconsciously feel responsible for. That in some way we should have been able to change their behaviour and the presenting outcomes.
I have learned over the years how important it is to understand that if we’re not responsible for other people’s behaviour, then it’s okay to let go. Guilt in itself is harmless, but it’s the attachment of guilt to particular circumstances that makes it harmful. Guilt also leads to criticism and expressing anger at others, sometimes in circumstances where it’s completely unwarranted.
Guilt also triggers reactive behaviour, which goes against our core values. Guilt stops us from moving on, breaks our spirit and stops healthy communication. Guilt is fruitless and never serves a purpose, it simply causes more stress.
We need to rid ourselves of the guilt we feel. We carry guilt whether we’re responsible or not. We also carry it because we think we have no choice. The more independent we are, the more we feel responsible, when we carry guilt. Unfortunately, if the other person doesn’t take responsibility, we own their guilt.
Without letting go and finding ways to deal with guilt we will emotionally alienate ourselves, create unnecessary rifts and live with the most miserable of existences with those around us carrying most of the burden.
I believe the impact of guilt on our health can be so great, it can also cost us our lives.