All Episodes

March 20, 2024 33 mins
Let's start by defining the word guilt: AI definition: Guilt is an emotional state characterized by feelings of responsibility or remorse for having committed a wrongdoing or for failing to meet a certain standard of behavior, often accompanied by a sense of regret or self-blame. definition: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime. So, in my summary, the word guilt is defined as you are responsible for having done something wrong. I am big on the power of visualization, so I suggest that you visualize yourself in a courtroom, you’re sitting in the chair and the jury is trying to determine your guilt over an issue. And it makes sense to visualize yourself in that court of law because the word guilt is so closely associated with trials. Let’s use an example here. Let’s say that you have a job and you’re working with a team doing a project. You finish your part of the project and you hand it over to one of your teammates, and you realize before you do that that you’ve made a mistake. But it’s just a small mathematical error, it would take you forever to fix it, and so you don’t fix it. You hand it over to your teammate, she finishes it, turns it n to your boss, your boss catches the mistake, blames your friend, and you say nothing. You go home, pick up the phone and call your friend Sue. And you say “Sue, I made this mistake today and my teammate got blamed and I didn’t speak up and now I kind of...” what would you say, “feel guilty.” We say it all the time, right? I kind of feel guilty. Well, that’s a phrase you need to get rid of. You need to throw that out forever because it doesn’t make sense to say I feel guilty because either you are or you’re not. Now I know if I were you, I would be sitting there thinking, “Well yeah, but that’s pretty cut and dry. But what about the other things I’ve put on my list, like not spending time with my children or not calling my mother or whatever it is. Those aren’t so cut and dry.” We’ll come back to those in just a minute. When I call my friend Sue and I say “I kind of feel guilty,” what am I looking for Sue to do? I want her to make me feel better. I want her to make my guilt go away. Now its not that I’m trying to be irresponsible or shirk my responsibility. Freud gave it a name; he called it the pleasure principle. And he says we don’t want to feel emotional pain in our souls and we’ll do whatever we need to do to get rid of it. And so what I’m asking Sue to do is to take away my emotional pain and I want her to say “Oh, it’s ok, you didn’t mean to.” That’s what I want her to say. Now, contrast this, how does it seem different if I call my friend Sue and I say “Sue, I’m guilty of not speaking up when I made a mistake and someone else got in trouble for it.” Do you see how that sounds different? I am guilty of. Let's take the phrase I feel guilty and throw it away and replace it with I am guilty of. On the other hand, what if you’re not guilty? (Show notes for more at Thanks for joining! **Not intended to be therapy or replace therapy - If you need further help, please reach out to one of the resources: General Resources National Alliance of Mental Illness: Mental Health America: Mental Health First Aid Resources: Celebrate Recovery: About AA: Tami West, PhD Stress and Mental Health Expert Dr. Tami West uses her entertaining and compelling style to shine a new light on how to transform your life and discover solutions to life’s challenges. Connect with me:
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