Mar
20

What Would It Be Like to Never Feel Guilty?

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Heather Dominick, mentor to Highly Sensitive Leaders, is teaching “Weekly Activation calls” on A Course in Miracles, and I’d like to share something that spoke to me from a recent call.

(While I’m not sure what I think of A Course in Miracles itself, I do like the way Heather gleans very practical principles from it and applies it to being Highly Sensitive. I also like the Course’s definition of miracle: “a shift in perception.”)

The Miracle she taught on that so struck me was #30, about guilt. She talked about how so often, guilt is used as a means to control. How many times has someone tried to guilt you into doing what they wanted?

So I asked her: How do you handle it when someone does this—they try to guilt you into something that isn’t right for you? (A situation I was currently experiencing.)

Heather asked me, “What do you usually do?”

I admitted that I usually want to be gracious, so often I give in. (In my case, the person was using all kinds of things, from “we’re family after all” to “A good Christian would….” The latter especially tended to hook me.)

Heather then helped me to see that being gracious does not mean giving in. I could trust that I can handle conflict from a place of grace, which doesn’t mean saying yes out of obligation. It means that I can fully accept that other people have feelings and viewpoints of their own, and they may not like mine, but I can come from a place of “both/and”– which is grace.

“Grace in not an act, but a way of acting,” she said. With grace, I can consider “you and me,” rather than “you or me.”

Coming from a place of “you or me,” someone has to lose, someone has to give in. I was thinking that giving in was somehow grace, but it would be an act. Approaching the situation with grace means I can approach the other person from a “both/and” place. I can access the words that communicate what I need, acknowledge what the other person needs, and be OK with the differing needs being at odds. If I’m in alignment with my own deepest values, I can stand firm, and trust that the other person will be able to take care of themselves.

And if they can’t—if they try to draw me into the Dreaded Drama Triangle of Persecutor-Victim-Rescuer, I can refuse to be pulled into that triangle. So often when people use guilt tactics, they try to pull you into one of more of these roles.

In my case, the person was trying to guilt me into “rescuing” them. Once it became clear to me what was going on, and that it was actually neither loving nor gracious to rescue them, I was able to “step out of the triangle” and shake off the guilt.

Also, relevant to me as an empathic person: just because I can feel their anger or hurt, doesn’t mean I’m responsible for their feelings. I can acknowledge it but not own it. Again, that is stepping out of the triangle by refusing to accept the roles of persecutor or victim.

In fact, I have a new technique I’ve developed and use with some of my clients called “Release and Infuse,” which is very good at helping release negative feelings and also any energy you may have taken on from others, and then infusing what you do want and surrendering outcomes to God. If you would like a copy of that, email me (diane at healingcodescoaching.com) to request it.

Heather asked us to journal about where we automatically default to guilt, and consider what would things be like if we chose to drop the guilt.

I journaled on that for several days, and it was eye-opening. Recognizing these triggers empowers me to reject the guilt and come from that place of grace and clear boundaries.

If you too struggle with false guilt—i.e. you really didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow you feel guilty—I invite you to do the same. Notice, without judgment, when you feel triggered into feeling guilty, and imagine what it would be like to live without that guilt.

Then, do what you need to do to drop the guilt. You might release it in recognition that it’s not valid, or step out of the Dreaded Drama Triangle I mentioned by having a difficult conversation and setting a boundary.

True guilt can be dealt with by confession and forgiveness. False guilt is a scourge. Purge the scourge!

I tell you—it’s very empowering!

If you would like to sample Heather Dominick’s Weekly Miracle Activations, go here to sign up.

And if you would like some coaching to help you deal with guilt or any other “heart issue,” go to HealingCodesCoaching.com and check out my coaching packages.

 

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