Updated: Oct 10, 2020
Many people spend large amounts of time consuming their present moments with two useless thought patterns: Guilt and worry. Guilt is in the past and worry is in the future and both stop present moment enjoyment.
Guilt is in the past. You should leave it in the past. You shouldn't be thinking "Oh my goodness, I'm a terrible person, I shouldn't have done this or I shouldn't have done that." If you've done or said something wrong, then attempt to fix it, but if you can't fix it then stop being concerned about it. You use up your present moments feeling guilty about what you should or shouldn't have done and no amount of guilt will change it anyway. Instead make a decision that whatever you've done or said wrong in the past, you will endeavour to do it right next time and drop the feelings guilt. It’s a useless emotion.
Another aspect of guilt is when people use it to get you to do things they want you to do. For example: I was in Bali several years ago and there was a lady there giving massages and she wanted me to pay her for a massage. When I declined and kept walking she started shouting at me: "How can I feed my children?” “My poor children are going to starve." “You have plenty of money." She was using guilt to try and make me a part with my money. Obviously, this has helped her in the past so she continued to use this tactic to solicit money from others.
Another example of guilt was when I was young my mum would say to me: “You just sit there and watch TV. I'll cook, I'll clean, I'll look after you and you just enjoy yourself while I'll do all the hard work.” You see she was trying to make me feel guilty so I’d get up and help her. And of course, it worked. I would get up and help her do something but only because I felt guilty. I'm sure the similar thing happened to you when you were a child.
What I want to teach you is that you should be doing what you want to do when you want to do it because it's your life and no amount of guilt should deter you from doing what you want to do. I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t help others. But don’t help them out of a sense of obligation. Do it because you want to do it. Also, don’t allow others to try this guilt trip on you. And don’t think for one minute that this is a selfish act. You need to look after yourself before you can look after others. For example, if you do not eat, how can you feed the mouths of others? And remember that saying NO is acceptable. Never feel guilty about not wanting to do something or being somewhere where you do not want to be. And it is really OK wanting to spend time with yourself. Do not allow others to pull the guilt card on you.
Now lets not get this wrong. I'm not talking about developing a total disregard for others in your life or developing an egotistical standpoint. I'm talking about dwelling on the past to such an extend that it immoblises you in the now. Free your mind of guilt. You will have more present moment experiences when you do so.
A very old man once said:
"I have had so many concerns in my life, the most of which never happened"
And the most of which have never happened are the worries that you have in your life. You consume your present moments worrying about the future, worrying about your health, worrying about your children, your job, your car, your house, your money, your parents, your husband, your wife, finding a partner, getting into heaven and who is going to look after me I'm old. Why do we do this? It is something that we were taught early in life. We were taught that it is healthy to worry. It shows that you care. Well it isn’t healthy.
I remember many many years ago I did some renovations to my house without council approval. When I tried to sell the house, it came out that there were these renovations. The council then wanted to come out and have a look, so I worried myself silly for weeks. When they finally came out it was actually a pleasant experience. The two gentlemen were very friendly. They approved the alterations and there was nothing to worry about. So I spent weeks occupying my present moments worrying for absolutely no reason.
Worry steals your present moments away. People who follow mindfulness do not worry. They realize that if they have no control over it, then there is no point in worrying about it. They also realize that if they do have control over it, then they take control and do something about it. So there is no point in worrying about that either.
So worry only exists in the mind and YOU have the power to remove this
self-defeating behaviour from your life forever.
If you are struggling with guilt or worry to an extend that it is immoblising you in your present moments, then book an appointment and learn some useful techniques to help you with these concerns.
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