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Guilt is Good

emotion guilt mindset

As the saying goes, a guilty mind needs no accuser.

Whenever you feel guilty, it is because you are in conflict.

Something you have done, said, or thought is contradicting a belief, value, or goal that you have.

Let's take the example nutrition.

If you have a goal to increase your vertical and eat nutritious food, you might feel guilty when you eat donuts.

But the guilt doesn't come from the donuts. So where does it come from?

Guilt comes from what you think.

You think you must not be serious about your health goals. You said you weren't going to eat donuts any more, and you just did. You can't control yourself. 

Not long after those thoughts, you might hear a new voice.

Why can't you eat donuts? You shouldn't have to feel guilty for eating a donut. You deserve to enjoy a donut every once in a while.

This is your brain's attempt to make you feel better. 

In reality, if you set a goal and you don't follow through with it, then you start to break trust with yourself. 

If you don't trust yourself, then it is hard (if not impossible) to have confidence in anything that you do.

Not trusting yourself is an even bigger problem than feeling guilty. Guilt knows this!

Guilt is simply trying to deliver a message: you have violated one of your own standards!

Whenever this happens, you MUST do something immediately to ensure you will not break your own standard in the future.

Sometimes you need to change your perception.
Other times you need to change your behavior.

You get to decide what is appropriate.

In the case of eating donuts, if you want to eat a donut, the DECIDE you are going to eat a donut, and accept the natural consequences that behavior might bring. Own it.

Mean what you say, and say what you mean.

Or, maybe you really don't want to eat donuts. Do something (like throw them away) to ensure you won't eat another.

Guilt is good for you. Imagine if you never felt guilty! You might not have many standards or values. 

Guilt is only a problem when you let it turn into shame. There is no need to beat yourself up.

Simply listen to the message, thank the guilt, and DO something about it!

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