Time management tips can help protect your time from inner demons, like guilt, that are undercutting your potential. Keep guilt from carving a big hole in your day! Using 3 reality-based strategies, you can easily avoid scenarios like the following one:
Do you ever wake up excited, anticipating the day ahead? And then – ouch! A stab of regret makes you wince. You remember a painful mistake, which you fix immediately. But that’s not enough – you feel choked by guilt. If only you could do something extra special to demonstrate your regret… But once you commit to it, you realize you don’t really have the time. Now what? That’s when a family member calls, asking a favor. You can’t possibly say no, but you’re stretched to the limit. You can’t please and appease everybody! Before you know it, your day darkens. Guilt grasps you by the nape of the neck and marches you down a slippery slope.
What role does guilt play in your daily choices? Can you refuse others’ excessive demands without thinking twice? Or do you sign away time to avoid accusing stares? How big a slice does remorse carve out of your lifetime?
Well, the good news is this: guilt does not belong in your life! No matter what mistakes you’ve made, or who feels disappointed, there are better alternatives. You can let go of guilt, if you just know how.
Here’s a helpful assertiveness exercise. You can use it to explore 3 common, guilt-inducing misconceptions and move beyond them. Modify this exercise to speak to your situation. And to reap maximum benefits, use it whenever guilt crops up.
GUILT MISCONCEPTION #1: “I just can’t let people down, when they expect so much of me!”
Reality: What others think is beside the point; it’s not your job to meet their expectations. Asserting this can feel like a huge risk, initially. But with practice, you’ll gain strength from being such a strong advocate for yourself. It’s liberating! Not only that – you may even find that central relationships grow stronger as you become more authentic.
Affirmation: It can help to keep phrases handy to back up your resolve. You can call them affirmations or mantras: For example: “Others have a right to their feelings, and I have a right to use my time in ways that align with my deepest values.”
GUILT MISCONCEPTION #2: “The only way I can redeem myself is by dragging myself down, making myself miserable.”
Reality: Self-punishment only tangles communications and generates resentment. You are quite capable of surviving someone’s appropriate anger. Once you have apologized and owned your end, let go. Learn the lessons, stay positive, and move forward.
Affirmation: “I deserve to feel good about myself at all times. I won’t punish myself for making mistakes. I choose to spend my time responsively and productively.”
GUILT MISCONCEPTION #3: “If I don’t feel guilty, then I must lack a conscience!”
Reality: Guilt keeps you stuck in anger and shame. So tap your power to learn and grow, instead! Accept that you’re human and that you will make mistakes. Relate to yourself with the generosity you would show to a friend.
Affirmation: “I choose to reject guilt. I befriend my mistakes and I learn valuable lessons!
As you stop punishing yourself, you might find it easier to let go of anger at others, too. Embracing our shared humanity can lift a weight off your shoulders! So take extra good care of yourself: use this exercise anytime you need support. See yow you can learn to relax harsh standards towards yourself and others, too. Clarity, compassion and courage will help you kick that guilt to the curb and revitalize your life!
So, how can you use these lessons right now to shake off guilt and find new uses for your time?© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.