The Causey Consulting Podcast

On Needless Guilt & Beating Yourself Up

November 19, 2020 Sara Causey Episode 54
The Causey Consulting Podcast
On Needless Guilt & Beating Yourself Up
Chapters
The Causey Consulting Podcast
On Needless Guilt & Beating Yourself Up
Nov 19, 2020 Episode 54
Sara Causey

Feeling remorse because of something wrong or hurtful is normal. Constantly feeling bad about things you cannot control or a desire to be perfect is not. These tendencies often get magnified during the holiday season, perhaps more so now that Covid lockdowns are back on the horizon.

Key topics:

✔️ What is justified guilt versus unjustified or fake guilt?
✔️ How do these emotions cause damage to us?
✔️ As Wayne Dyer noted: guilt is living in the past and worry is living in the future. Neither one is helpful and both rob you of the present moment.
✔️ There's always an opportunity for change. You can always say, "I don't have to do that again," and move on with your life.

Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/

Show Notes Transcript

Feeling remorse because of something wrong or hurtful is normal. Constantly feeling bad about things you cannot control or a desire to be perfect is not. These tendencies often get magnified during the holiday season, perhaps more so now that Covid lockdowns are back on the horizon.

Key topics:

✔️ What is justified guilt versus unjustified or fake guilt?
✔️ How do these emotions cause damage to us?
✔️ As Wayne Dyer noted: guilt is living in the past and worry is living in the future. Neither one is helpful and both rob you of the present moment.
✔️ There's always an opportunity for change. You can always say, "I don't have to do that again," and move on with your life.

Need more? Email me: https://causeyconsultingllc.com/contact-causey/

Unknown:

Hello, hello and welcome to today's episode of the Causey Consulting podcast. I'm your host, Sara Causey and I'm also the owner of Causey Consulting, which you can find online anytime at Causey Consulting llc.com. Today, I want to talk about needless guilt and beating yourself up. Unfortunately, this is something that does tend to manifest more at the holiday season. And I have the feeling with cities going back on lockdown, people being encouraged to have very small Thanksgiving celebrations do more things over zoom, or Skype, it's only going to magnify those tendencies and people, especially the perfectionist out there that everything has to be a certain way in order for the holiday to be a success in their eyes. I know it's going to be a difficult time. I've recorded episodes before about people with the dark triad personality cluster, people who are on the opposite side of the spectrum, they don't engage in needless guilt, they're always out for themselves. They're narcissistic, Machiavellian, and why it's so important to watch out for people like that in business, if you take on a business partner, or a client that has that dark triad personality cluster, you are in for a world of hurt in so many ways. But there's people on the opposite end of the spectrum, too, that feel guilty and blame themselves and beat themselves up about everything all the time. And it makes life miserable. Some people have referred to needless guilt as fake guilt, as in, it's there, but it's not really because you did anything that was wrong or harmful to anyone. And I've also heard it called unjustified guilt. And I think that that may be a really great way of thinking about it. If we feel remorseful because we hurt someone that's different from needless or unjustified guilt, which very often spirals into hating yourself, beating yourself up and having that ruminative thinking, Oh, why didn't I plan this better? How could I not have anticipated a traffic jam? How could I have been so stupid to spilled coffee all over myself not to sit here and a stained shirt all day with people looking at me funny. Those types of things are really ridiculous. Could you have prevented? Could you have psychically know that you were gonna accidentally spill a cup of coffee on yourself? No. Could you have psychically known that there was going to be a traffic jam at 745? And it was going to make you late for work? No, I mean, unless that's something that typically happens. And maybe you could have planned ahead a little bit better. If it was something that just happened out of nowhere, then the answer is no. And beating yourself up about it in any scenario is not going to help. This behavior can lead people to not stand up for themselves when they're being abused or taken advantage of. It can cause people to stay in relationships or friendships that are unhealthy because they're scared that the other person will be heartbroken or will fly off the handle and get mad if they say I don't want to hang out with you anymore, or I don't think the relationship is working. So it also traps you in a way it makes you beholden to other people, rather than examining who you are and what you want out of life. One important thing to consider is the more tenderness and forgiveness that you can show to yourself, the more you are able to give those things to the people around you, or even to just society. In general, it's been said that you can't pour water out of an empty jar. You can't give to other people what you don't have inside you to give anyway. And I think that's really true. So often people that are walking around in this state of self loathing or self flagellation, everything I do is stupid, I can't do anything right, how could I not have known this? How could I not have done this? How are they going to be able to provide nurturing and tenderness to other people when they're not able to give it to themselves? Another point I want to make is that living in the past, holding on to past regrets, past failures, things that didn't go well for us months, or maybe even years or decades ago, is really hampering you from enjoying the present moment and thinking about the future. What are the things that you want? Even if you're listening to this in the twilight of your life, for the days that you have left on this planet? How do you want to spend them What do you want them to be like to look like. And if you're sitting around beating yourself up over something that happened years ago, it's not going to get you any place. Good. I know there are people that might disagree with that, that think it's good to just sit and feel guilty about something that happened years and years and years and years and years ago. But what does it really accomplish? You know, I cut someone off in traffic accident dentally back in 1972. And he was mad at me and flipped me the bird and I can't stop thinking about it. And it's like, okay, but that person probably doesn't even remember what happened. And it's so irrelevant to anything in your life right now. Don't allow yourself to dwell on something that happened that long ago. And yet, you know, perhaps it sounds like I'm being facetious. But I have known people in my personal life. And I have worked with clients that would allow themselves to just dwell on some minor infraction that happened decades ago, and let it taint everything that was happening in their life right now. Or they would begin to make these broad sweeping statements about themselves. I'm just a clumsy person. I'm not good at math, I'm not good at planning ahead. Well, you certainly won't be if that's the kind of internal dialogue that you have playing out in your head. Wayne Dyer's book, your erroneous zones is such a great book for so many reasons. And chapter five of that book is titled, The useless emotions, guilt, and worry. And the little subtitle he has under that is, if you believe that feeling bad, or worrying long enough, will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system may be a little harsh, but it's certainly true. He has a diagram in the book that shows how guilt is living in the past, worry is living in the future, when you should be in the middle of the fulcrum there and living in the present moment. That's all that you have control over anyway. I mean, if we think back to about this time, last year, preparing for the 2019 holiday season, things looked a whole lot different. And when the pandemic hit, everything seemed to come to a standstill so quickly. There's no way that Thanksgiving of 2019, you could have known all of the different occurrences that would be happening in Thanksgiving of 2020. I had a client who recently said to me, if I had known how things would be different this year for the holiday season, and how we'll have to do a zoom holiday or Skype holiday or try to get people on FaceTime to have more of the extended family involved in the holidays, I would have slowed the hell down and enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2019 a lot more than I did. Well, instead of feeling guilty about, you know, presumably not doing it correctly. Last year, the only thing you can do is to learn from that lesson and really enjoy the time that you have in the holidays. This year. It's not about beating yourself up. And, man, I'm such a loser, I don't appreciate my family enough. That's not going to help anybody. Be present in the moment and just decide for yourself. Even if we're doing it through zoom or FaceTime. It feels really an ideal and awkward, I am going to drink in every moment of the holiday season, and enjoy it as much as I possibly can. In the book, Wayne Dyer breaks it down into several categories. It's certainly not an exhaustive list, but it's helpful. It can be guilt that comes to you from parental relationships or grandparent relationships, your lover, your spouse, your children, school, the educational system, church or spiritual leaders. There are plenty of let's say outside influences that have a stake in making sure that you feel a certain way, whether that's feeling positive or feeling negative. You know, I've been reading Sandra amvets book about why diets make us fat. And she takes a pretty good appraisal of the food industry. You know, we have this sort of collusion that's going on between Big Pharma and big food where, Okay, I'm gonna put you on a diet program, that's, you know, inevitably you're going to Boomerang back to eating whatever you want again, so then you've got all this processed food to choose from, and then you go back on the diet and then you take some pills and then you go back to the process vote and it just sets up this never ending cycle so that you're a consistent consumer of all these industries, for the rest of your life. And so it can be with needless guilt, pumping you full of anxiety making you feel lesser than mean think about all the studies that have been done about FOMO fear of missing out and how social media fans that flame you know, somebody can beat Taking beautiful pictures of their home or, you know, let's say pre COVID of a vacation they were on and it looks so beautiful and so wonderful and like heaven on earth. And then you find out later that, in fact, was not heaven on earth, everything had just been staged to make it look that way. Something else that I like is that Wayne Dyer also highlights what he would consider to be the psychological payoffs for choosing to feel guilt. And again, just to be really, really clear, I'm not talking about justified remorse, where you have hurt someone caused pain or suffering in some way. And you're feeling that sense of conviction, because you should feel bad about it. You've done something for which there's a reason to feel that remorse and to want to make amends to somebody. I'm talking about needless unjustified guilt, where you have, in fact, not done anything wrong. So one, one of the payoffs that he talks about, is it gives you a way to escape the present moment. If you dwell on something that happened in the past the time and 72 when you cut somebody off, and he flipped you the burden wasn't that awful? You're not here in the present moment. And look, I get it with all the crazy I don't even know what you would call it the topsy turvy the tumble of 2020. Like I get it, I totally understand why you might go, yeah, I need a break from this. But the way that you do that is to turn off the TV get get away from the news. Get away from gloom and doom and naysayers go out in nature. Walk around for a little while, look at the leaves changing color, enjoy the sunshine, do something away from technology and the news. You don't need to punish yourself by thinking about all the terrible things that you believe you've done in your life. Every time you ever spilled coffee on yourself at any first date you had where you felt like you acted like a goofball. Don't sit around and play your life's worst hits. You don't deserve to do that. Another that he mentioned is you are shifting away the responsibility of changing yourself in the present moment. So if let's say you've had a habit that you perceive as a bad habit that you'd like to break, you can just sort of absolve yourself from doing that in the present moment. Because you're focused on the past. Oh, look at this list of things I did that was terrible. I burned the Christmas cookies and ruined everything. I didn't buy a turkey on time and other all sold out. I'm such an idiot, I'm such a moron. And it's like, Okay, well, maybe next time you just use a different recipe, maybe next time you plan ahead and buy a turkey way ahead of time and put it in the freezer. I mean, you know, there's always a way to to make a different plan in the future. But if you're dwelling on one at one an idiot you think you are you're not going to get there. Another that I really like and have identified with is there is a tendency I'm reading again, from Wayne Dyer here, there's a tendency to believe that if you feel guilty enough, you will eventually be exonerated for having been naughty. This being forgiven payoff is the basis of the prison mentality described above, in which the inmate pays for sins by feeling terrible for a long period of time. The greater the transgression, the longer the period of remorse necessary for pardon. Right. So if I just feel badly enough that I burned the Christmas cookies, then maybe Grandma will come over here and tell me that it's okay. And I could get some soothing instead of comforting and soothing myself and going you know what, it's not that big of a deal. I can always just go to the nearest bakery and buy some, it's it's not the end of the world. I'll get some pity. I'll get some soothing. I'll get some outside external comfort if I just feel badly enough for long enough. I wish I could tell you that there was some cosmic scale that worked that way, but I'm not necessarily convinced that there is. Sometimes the bad guy wins. It's like Rabbi Kushner's book, when bad things happen to good people, not if they happen, or maybe at some point they might happen and here's how to prepare for it. It's when that things happen to good people, because we're all going to have some times in life where the rain falls on the just and the unjust and sitting around beating yourself up over every minor mistake or minor infraction is really ridiculous and it will not change anything. Here in a couple of weeks. I'm about to have a major milestone birthday. And I can tell you going into this next decade of life and thinking about All right, here's what my life has been like here to four. Here's what I would like it to be it moving forward. I've really not only do I feel more comfortable in my own skin, more self aware more able to Intuit what I'm feeling I want certain things that I do or why I like or dislike certain things. I've also gotten much more comfortable with the idea of looking out for myself, and my own best interest, not trying to have a messiah complex and save the world and looking out for everybody else. But who am I? What do I want, and what's important to me, if you think about it, many times in life, people who level a charge of will you're just selfish, you're just self centered. It often comes as an accusation that often conveniently comes, when you have told someone else, a friend or family member, oftentimes, that you're not able to do something, you're not able to help them move their entire house across the country, or you're not able to pick them up and take them to the airport at three o'clock in the morning, you'd have to get up and go to work, and you're not going to be able to do it. Well, you're just selfish, you're a lousy friend, you're a bad sister, and your bad, whatever. It's because you're telling them that you're not going to do something that they've asked you to do. There is 100%, a middle ground between that dark triad person that's Machiavellian, that thinks it's my world, and you're just living in it. And if you so much as sneeze in the wrong direction, I will crush you like a bug, I do not care you are nothing to me, versus being a human doormat, where you put up with all kinds of mistreatment, and you allow people to walk all over you all the time. I have a client who shared with me that she used to really take it as a compliment. When people in her family teachers, like instructors at Sunday school and stuff would tell her that she was agreeable. And she said, you know, as I have gotten older, I just like, I don't want to do that anymore. I don't want to go along to get along, and be that you know, sugar and spice and everything nice. That's what little girls are made of. I have a right to my own opinion, I have a right to be able to say no, or to speak up in, in a dialogue about politics or religion or whatever and say, you know, no, I disagree with that. I don't want to be known as this agreeable person that just never makes any waves and never really has an opinion about anything. And I'm like, Yes, good for you. It's, it's awesome when people, regardless of your gender, or your age is awesome. When people turn that corner of realizing I have a voice it deserves to be heard. And I'm not going to just be very meek and very mild and just not have anything to say. You don't have to be that way if it's not authentic to you. So I think to me, needless guilt, and punishing yourself over minor infractions is essentially saying, I think everyone else on this planet is more worthy than me. They matter more than me their feelings, their desires, their goals, their emotions, they all matter more than I do. I'm secondary, I'm subservient in some way to them. And that just like No, just Huh, no, I'm not unknown. No, thank you. And so that's what I will leave you with, in this episode. The next time that you start blaming yourself for something that wasn't your fault. When you start trying to take responsibility, like you should have psychically known something that there was no way you could have known in advance, or you have a profound fear of disappointing someone else or making them feel sad or temporarily hurting their feelings over something very minor. I want you to just ask yourself that question. Really, really be very blunt and very direct with yourself in this moment? Am I putting everyone else above myself? And that's not about saying I'm never going to be altruistic. I'm not going to be generous. There. There. There are times in life where we have to make that sacrifice, play and put someone else's needs above our own. Absolutely. You see it in Parent Child relationships all the time and rightfully so. But for these other minor things I do I want you to ask yourself, Am I communicating to the universe that my wants and needs are subservient or secondary to someone else's. And if you find yourself, making yourself feel like a second class citizen, stop. If you enjoyed today's episode, please share it. If you haven't already, take a quick minute to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review for us on iTunes. Bye for now.