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How to Rid Your Life of Guilt


I remember when I was growing up my mom saying to me, “Guilt is a useless emotion.” Another one of her favorites was, “I can’t make you feel guilty, only you can make yourself feel guilty”.

According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary Guilt is:

: the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously

b. feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy

As Brene Brown says, “Guilt means I did something bad, Shame means I am bad.”

The beauty of guilt is you can change it.  You can DO something.

If you did something bad you can fix it, make it better, ask forgiveness, or do a penance.

But just feeling guilty for something that you have the power to make better, that is a waste of time.

Punishing yourself over and over for crimes that you THINK you have committed is exhausting and unproductive.

How to rid your life of guilt:

You can’t do it wrong:  Yep, there’s a bold statement. But what if there isn’t a right way.  What if we are here learning and growing. And yes we mess up and yes we make mistakes.  But we can always ask forgiveness.  We are all doing the best we can with what we have–and as Maya Angelou says, “when we know better we do better”. So feeling guilty for something rather than taking action to make it better is totally useless. Be compassionate.

Realize that spinning on guilt is a waste of time:  Some people I know LOVE spinning on guilt.  They don’t have to take responsibility for anything if they are spinning on guilt.  If they feel bad that is there penance–sorry it doesn’t work that way. That mentality just leads to a life of misery.  If you catch yourself spinning on guilt ask yourself: Did you do something wrong? If yes, then ask yourself how can you make the situation better?  If No, you are probably experiencing shame.

Recognize it. Learn from it. Move on.  Recognize when it is guilt you are feeling.  Figure out what you can learn from the mistake and how you can do it differently next time. And then move on.  Don’t dwell on it. 

I would love to hear from you:  How do you handle guilt?  Do you agree guilt is a useless emotion?

I am very excited to be doing another  Live Happier Wine Night on August 27th from 7pm-9pm in my home town of Bexley, Ohio.   For the cost of $20 you get 2 glasses of wine, hors d’oeuvres and a presentation by me on Tips to Live Happier.  Advanced registration is required.  To register or for more information go to:

Hope to see you there!


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