By Tina Lensing, MSW
“Thou shall not…
“You’ll go to hell if..”
“____ is a sin.”
Those words echoed deeply in my mind and heart while I ‘tried my best’ to focus on the positive virtues I was taught like compassion, love, peace and joy. Growing up in a Catholic religious household was pretty glorious on the outside. I had lots of friends, my family was super supportive, I learned values of family, hard work, service and giving. However, in my adolescence and 20s, I began to realize how I felt GUILTY all. the. time. Seriously! I felt guilty when I took time to relax; I felt guilty when I didn’t go to church; I felt guilty when I got my own way; and I felt guilty for celebrating too loudly. I especially felt guilty when I fell in love with a man with different religious background than my parents. The guilt was deep and pervasive.
Is guilt making you feel like you are chained down from your fullest potential in your business, relationship or life? Don’t worry, you are not alone, many of my clients experience all kinds of funky beliefs like feeling bad being wealthy, or feeling guilty taking time for yourself over your children, or feeling guilty for wanting more in your life. Dr. David Hawkins shares that guilt is the second lowest emotion on the Scale of Consciousness, which means that it is nearly the FURTHEST emotion away from your path to enlightenment.
That’s why I created this 5-step approach that I’ve used with myself and my clients to shed religious (or really any kind of) guilt so that you can thrive in your business.
Step 1: Get it all out there.
It’s important to list all the things you feel guilty about because the most dangerous kind of guilt is hidden guilt. It’s like fungus, if you ignore it and bury it, it only gets worse and worse. It doesn’t just clear up on its own, rather you have to tend to it to cleanse it.
Create a list of all the things you feel guilty about.
Mine looked something like this in the past… “I feel guilty for wanting more than a 9-5 job, for being with a man with different spiritual beliefs, for desiring to be wealthy, for eating three cookies today, for forgetting to feed my dog water, for enjoying pleasure, for taking time to play, for not calling back my mother for a week, and for quitting my “good” job to become my own boss.”
Be sure to include ALL the things you currently feel guilty for, whether that are new, pervasive, small or large. Don’t be shy here; no one else needs to see this except for you.
Step 2: Ask yourself this one powerful question.
Now, with this question, it’s important to answer right away on whatever comes up. There is no right or wrong, just answer to your best ability.
“When did I decide to start feeling guilty about _________?”
Yes, it was a decision to feel guilty. It was a choice that you made (likely over and over and over again). If you were anything like me, I answered this question with “As long as I can remember. I don’t know; I just always seem to feel guilty.” Other clients of mine will pinpoint a certain situation that happened when the guilt started.
The powerful part about this step is that it was a choice and still is a choice. Once you can see when it started, you can make a choice to continue with the guilt or to do something differently. Pretty empowering!
Step 3: forgive yourself and others.
This step is super important because it helps you to release the old so that you can make space for the new version of yourself. The past was simply an old story that you’ve programmed yourself to re-read over and over again, that’s all.
If you are ready to RELEASE the old so that you can really live to your fullest potential, let’s dive into forgiveness.
First, place your hand on your heart and close your eyes.
Next, state out loud: “I forgive ______ for teaching me that I need to feel guilty for ______.” (You may have a few people or entities to forgive here.) Sometimes the guilt is someone else’s guilt that you’ve been carrying around and you don’t even believe it to be true yourself.
Lastly, state confidently: “I forgive myself for living in guilt over the past years. I forgive myself for believing this old story.”
Whew! I know it’s a bit intense, but when you forgive, it’s SUPER POWERFUL and refreshing!
Step 4: Share how you desire to feel (often the opposite of guilty).
Get specific here. For example:
- I desire to feel abundance and freedom in my business.
- I desire to feel love and connection in my relationships with myself and others.
The reason we do anything in life is in the hopes of it making us feel some version of goodness, right? So why not start with the FEELING!
When you released that guilt in the previous step with forgiveness, you likely felt the emotion you desire. Congratulate yourself every time you experience this desired feeling and savor this feeling. You are programing your mind to feel differently. Purposely do activities or rituals that evoke that ideal feeling. It’s all part of the rewiring of your mindset.
Step 5: Decide that you are choosing a new story and COMMIT.
Deciding is important because you are declaring a new way of thinking. You are not saying, “Oh I’ll try to think differently.” Rather you’re saying, “I’m committed to shifting my mindset so that I can feel peace and abundance (insert your own desired feeling outcome from Step 4 here). Period.”
Do you see the difference? The first one is non-committal, which means likely you’ll fall right back into your old pattern and the latter one is declarative and committed.
Once you decide, it’s time to write a new story of how you desire to feel and this becomes your new way of life and untimely your new reality.
One of my clients’ looks something like this:
“I’m 100% committed to feeling self-love and pleasure. When I take care of myself first, I am able to show up for my children with much more love and attention. I take time to meditate, write, and build my business simply because that lights me up. I trust the Universe and release the thoughts that don’t serve me. I truly love myself so much. I choose to notice the small things daily and bask in the deliciousness of pleasure.”
That becomes the new focus. You train your mind to focus on the new story (the new desired feelings) and continue to forgive and release the old ones. Your new story will suddenly become more and more into focus as your old story melts away. It’s all about your focus.
I love this quote by Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
We must tell a new story.
As you can see, this is definitely an ongoing practice and process to work on and unravel. The most important part is to implement these steps right now so that you can start to build that momentum. So get out that dusty journal of yours and start writing! You’ll be leaps and bounds ahead if you begin this process now and continue to practice it daily.
What do you choose to release your feeling of guilt from? How will you reframe that thought? Tell us in the comments!
Tina Lensing is a Mindset & Business Coach + Digital Course Creator who helps women ditch their money blocks, step into their power to create and scale their soulful + prosperous business. Check out her blog, www.tinalensing.com for articles on mindset, business and manifesting.