The dictionary definition of guilt is: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some
offence, crime, wrong whether it’s real or whether it’s imagined.
That’s the important thing here – we’re not saying get rid of guilt when you’ve done
something bad because clearly that feeling is there to remind you that you have
strayed from your own moral code.
However, the issue shows up when people are feeling guilty about things that
actually they have no business feeling guilty about and are spending a great deal of
time worrying and feeling this anxiety about something quite unnecessarily.
When guilt is justified it’s meant to bring us to a realisation that there is a
standard that we have fallen short of. But whose standard is it?
It is really about getting those boundaries right between feeling guilt when it’s
justified and not feeling guilty when it’s justified by somebody else’s standard that
is perhaps not your own anyway. There are times when guilt is unjustified and can
make you become over responsible striving to make life right. You over give of
yourself, you are willing to do anything in your attempt to make everyone happy
and that’s all to try and get rid of that feeling of guilt.
Guilt that’s making you do so much for other people is actually wrongly motivated
because you’re just doing it to avoid the guilt or you’re doing it because you want
to avoid the fretting or you’re doing it because you can’t make the decision
Here are your ten N.L.P. presuppositions that I think relate to guilt:
First of all, the map is not the territory. What that means is your perception of the
scenario isn’t the same as the scenario itself because you’re filtering in bits of
information from the outside world and you haven’t got the full picture.
Number Two: People are not their behaviour. People are people. They just happen
to have certain behaviours.
Number Three: The meaning of all behaviour is dependent upon the context it
appears in, like all human emotions guilt isn’t really a bad thing unless you know
you’re using it in the context of it makes you feel bad. However, if you’re using it
as a form of feedback to tell you when you strayed from your moral code then in
fact guilt can be really good.
Number Four: All behaviour has a positive intention. Nobody is setting out to do
anything bad. They’re doing it to give themselves a good feeling say there is
positive intention even in bad behaviour. A person’s behaviour is an insight into the
model of the world they are operating. Someone’s behaviour is our greatest way of
understanding how they’re thinking and that’s really useful stuff to know.
Number Six: Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have
available. Even if you’re in a situation where you feel that other people are causing
you to feel guilty you are allowing yourself to choose to feel guilty as a result of
someone else’s behaviour then the best thing for you to remember is that they are
doing the best that they can with the emotional resources that they’ve got
available at that time.
And that ties in nicely to Number Seven that there are no one resourceful people
only unresourceful states. If you feel that someone is causing you to choose to feel
guilty it’s not because they are being an unresourceful person, it’s because they are
they haven’t got the full access to the wide range and spectrum of possible
emotions and ways to communicate with you at that particular time.
Number Eight: Everyone has all the resources they need to succeed and to achieve
their desired outcomes. Good news: you’ve all got it within you those people that
might be causing you to choose to feel guilt, they have all of the resources there
as well. It’s just a case of getting in touch with those resources.
Number Nine: the person with the most flexibility of behaviour has the greatest
influence on others and that ties in with the old saying ‘if you keep doing what
you’ve always done you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got’. If you’re in one of
those triangles where someone says or does something and it causes you to feel
guilty and then you make a reaction based on that feeling of guilt and then later
on they do the same thing again and then you have the same old feeling again and
then you react in the same way guess what you need to start doing something
different because you can’t rely on them to change.
And then last of all: There is no failure, only feedback.
By Gemma bailey