‘I feel so guilty.’
‘I really beat myself up over it.’
‘I felt terrible.’
Isn’t it ironic that shame spiralling and guilt-tripping is supposed to make you feel better?
Sounds weird, huh.
Track with me for a second.
If you broke a rule, that is to say, if you were ‘bad’...
i.e. If someone was mad at you, if you didn’t finish a project, if you didn’t complete a task, if your house is a pigsty…
And you were fine with it… Wouldn’t that make you a terrible person? Wouldn’t that make you a psycho?
If you do a bad thing, and you’re fine… what does that say about you?
You don’t care? You’re going off the rails? You’re a sociopath? You’ve lost your mind? You’re slipping into a pointless life?!
As children, we are punished for doing ‘wrong’. We learn that we have to suffer through the penance in order to be allowed back into the tribe’s good graces.
We break something – we get time out.
We’re too noisy – we get shut in our room.
We don’t do as we’re told – we get shouted at.
Our brain learns there’s a process.
The punishment is the key back into safety. The punishment is what makes us ‘good’ again.
But now that we’re adults… who administers the punishment?
I’ll give you 3 guesses..
Guilt. Shaming. Bullying. Berating.
We do it all to ourselves.
It’s all penance to get us back to good. To get us back to safe.
But here’s the good news.
You learned it, and you applied it.
You can just as easily learn and apply something else.
Want a better way?