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The Three Major Myths of Guilt (& How to Finally Overcome Guilt)

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  • The Three Major Myths of Guilt (& How to Finally Overcome Guilt)

    The following questions about guilt and shame were submitted by people, like you, who want to know more about how The Sedona Method works and can help them overcome guilt.

    This Q&A exchange is designed to give you immediate benefit just by following along. With further exploration, you will learn how consistently to access your natural ability to let go of any unwanted feeling in the moment and free yourself to have all that your heart desires and overcome guilt.

    If you would like to enjoy all the benefits of this powerful tool, I recommend you get your own copy of The Sedona Method Audio Course. See details below on how you can get your program at a deep discount. Enjoy!

    Dear Hale,
    Why are guilt and shame such a trap for most of us?


    There are three major myths about guilt and shame that often severely limit our lives and make us miserable. The first and biggest lie is that guilt can protect us from being punished. In fact, guilt is an unconscious "I owe you" for punishment. When we feel guilty, we attract punishment from the world and create it for ourselves. Here's the kicker: when we make a mistake or do something wrong, no matter what level of guilt we inflict upon ourselves, we will never feel as though we've been sufficiently punished.

    How does self-punishment arise? First we do something, or think of doing something, that we believe we shouldn't do or is wrong to do. Interestingly, we often feel guilty even when we haven't followed through with an external action. Whether or not we get away with it in the eyes of the world, our minds won't let us off the hook. Because we believe that punishment is inevitable, we punish ourselves harshly in the false hope that it will cancel any further punishments.

    Pause for a moment to consider anything you feel guilty about doing or not doing, saying or not saying, or even thinking or feeling. Make a point of noticing whether you have been punishing yourself and living in fear of an impending external punishment.

    When you think about the things that you've been feeling guilty about, check to see if your guilt has actually protected you from being punished. Like the lies that most feelings tell us, you'll usually find that your guilt produced the opposite effect. It caused you to punish yourself. And, if your actions involved others, most likely your guilt didn't prevent you from getting punished. After all, if feeling guilty truly prevented external punishment, wouldn't our prisons be a lot emptier?

    A second lie perpetuated by guilt is that the feeling somehow prevents us from repeating our "wrong" actions. But haven't you— or someone you've known ever done, said, or thought anything that you felt guilty about more than once? Of course you have! We all have. Guilt frequently triggers us to do, or to continue doing, the exact same things that we believe we've already done wrong again as self-inflicted punishment. Guilt is one of the main causes of actions that we later regret.

    Consider the following: you're on a diet to lose weight. You slip and have a cookie or a bowl of ice cream, and you feel guilty about it. So, what do you do? You punish yourself by having another cookie or another scoop of ice cream. Now you feel even guiltier. Pretty soon, as an escalating punishment for your indiscretion, you finish the entire bag of cookies or pint of ice cream. And you probably don't allow yourself to enjoy even one bite. Sound familiar? The diet industry thrives on this little-understood phenomenon that causes most dieters to fail.

    The world is full of people atoning in various ways for sins that they have every intention, at least subconsciously, if not overtly, of doing again.

    I am not going to suggest that we all begin doing anything we want with reckless abandon, ignoring the guidelines of moral or disciplined behavior. However, since our feelings of guilt don't stop most of us from doing things we later regret, we must free ourselves of guilt. When we willingly release our guilt and shame, the benefits are incredibly profound! We don't need to spend all of our time and energy punishing ourselves. Freedom from guilt and shame means we are free to make better, healthier, more supportive choices.

    The third myth is that whatever you are feeling guilty about is all your fault. Because guilt also plays a significant role in our lives if we were abused as children. When our parents, guardians, teachers, or spiritual leaders abuse us when we are young, it is difficult for us to accept that these people could do something so horribly wrong. When we are young, adults, especially influential ones like our parents, have a tremendous amount of power. After all, they provide us with food and shelter and are supposed to protect us from the outside world. Since we cannot yet survive on our own, discovering their fallibility directly threatens our survival. We may elevate the adults in our lives to the status of gods, or at least representatives of God. Therefore, when abuse occurs, we seek to pin blame on the only other participant that we can find: ourselves. We do this as a distorted, imaginary form of self-protection.

    In Sedona Method courses, I've often worked with survivors of childhood abuse. Because survivors often blame themselves for what has happened, many have been feeling guilty and punishing themselves their whole lives for the mistakes made by the adults that they trusted. Once they release feelings of guilt, and stop blaming and punishing themselves for their abusers' mistakes, they are able to free themselves of the emotional, mental, and visceral patterns of trauma and shame in which they've been locked.

    What can I do now to start dissolving these feelings now?

    A powerful way to release guilt and shame is to decide that you have been punished enough, and then let go of wanting to punish yourself. You can use these questions:

    "Could I allow myself to decide that I have been punished enough?"

    "Could I let go of wanting to punish myself?"

    "Could I stop planning to punish myself again in the future?"

    Do your best to get a "yes" to any of these questions. Simply by deciding that you have been punished enough can produce truly profound results. One way of loosening up the stuck feelings is to give yourself approval for no reason whatsoever. When we feel guilty and punish ourselves, we are withholding approval or love from ourselves. If you get in the habit of loving or approving of yourself for no reason whatsoever, this will help loosen the stranglehold of guilt and shame on you, and allow you to live and love freely.
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  • #2
    Does it matter whether or not I know what the guilt is about?

    I find myself feeling a general sense of guilt a lot, but I have no idea why.

    Does anyone have help/suggestions?



    • #3
      No need to know why. You know if you feel guilty or not. That's what you want to release.


      • #4
        That's a great gain Tundi!


        • #5
          I have just stumbled over this thread and realized that I used to punish myself for having loved and trusted a person who hurt me. And I punished myself by gaining weight ...

          Thank you for letting me become aware of this "habit"!