Guilt, Shame and Worry,
Are emotions that drown you in your own misery.
I like to address these emotions as distant cousins who hardly exist in solidarity. In all of these three emotions, the person who experiences these is likely to beat themselves up for not living up to others standards or their own. They are then more likely to view themselves as bad, or wicked, a fool etc.
These emotions often rise from the beliefs that you hold about yourself, others and the world. These beliefs are not necessarily always healthy beliefs. Majority of the time, you tend to cling towards unhealthy beliefs. Healthier ones are more likely to be expressed in the ways of want, wishes, desires, etc.
For example, if you want a car you know that merely “wanting” the car won’t make it magically appear in your life. You know that for it to be true, you have set a budget, start saving money, start working towards it.
The other is an unhealthy or negative belief. They are expressed in the form of compulsions. But they are more likely never achieved because the person sets unrealistic standards upon themselves and others. When they are unable to live up to that, they lead to feelings of anger, guilt, shame.
Take an example of an addict. The main reason why an addict cannot quit and go back to healthier options is because he loves to be in the comfort of his addictions. He may know that his addiction has severely damaging consequences on his physical, mental , emotional well being. But does that stop him from doing that? NO! Right?
The result is, feeling shameful of his acts, feeling guilty for engaging in those acts, and finally living in the constant worry that what would happen next?
A worrier may lose his life battles. Worrying is the most common and also the most dreadful emotion one goes through. These emotions lead you to engage in constant rumination about the negative outcome of the future, of either self, others or the world. It’s like chewing a chunk of food over and over again then pausing for sometime, then again chewing that same old chunk once again.
An example of this is, imagine a kid who loathes eating broccoli, but the parents tell her that if she eats broccoli, she will be rewarded by her favorite ice cream.
So what does she do?
She keeps the broccoli chunk inside her mouth, chews a bit, then stops chewing, then again chews it, but does not swallow it or eat in whole.
Now will the child be able to relish upon her favorite ice cream if she does not finish that chunk inside her mouth, chews it and gulps it down?
The same way you won’t be able to welcome all the other positives in your life if you keep ruminating about the negative events that took place in the past.
How to separate yourself from these emotions?
Self Acceptance :
The journey towards separating yourself from these feelings starts by acceptance. Acceptance that there are good and bad aspects that you as an individual have about yourself and others around you. The basic acceptance that the universe presents you with both good and bad so that your journey towards becoming the one you are destined to be in is right on track. Once you accept this you shall have taken the first step towards separating yourself from these feelings.
Acceptance does not mean you are slightly agreeing with something with something that you don’t like or truly loathe, that’s being fake or phony. Acceptance means that you are accepting things for what they truly are and not how you would want them to be or would like them to be as. It’s only when you truly accept things for what they truly are can you come par with reality.
List down your worries.
“Writing down your problem is the first step towards solving them”
This is an interesting way I tried to untangle myself from these emotions. Your worries are often more likely to be based related to the future or past even occurring once again. These predictions are more likely to also be more disastrous in nature. Thus you can make a list of all of your immediate worries,
Eg, mine were,
My significant other has lost interest in me. (90%)
He is going to leave me (60%)
He is going to be mad at me if he hears what I have to say about his annoying friends. (40%)
Next: Write out the percentage / possibility of them actually coming true.
Next step is practicing patience.
Now these worries seem very laughable to others, but hey these are the thoughts that go on in your mind which give rise to anxiety and shame as well.
What I have observed from these years of practicing this is that, 9.5/ 10 times these worries never, EVER come true.
Ask yourself the right questions :
Ask yourself this question, which are the immediate problems that require your urgent attention?
What are the alternate ways in which I can tackle this problem?
How can I minimize my negative emotional investment and maximize my positive emotional gain?
Lastly, if a friend of mine or a family member were to go through the same problem, what would I recommend to ease them from this plight?
Be proud of your accomplishments!
The mere act you engage in these activities showcases how much you value yourself and are willing towards developing into a healthier version of you. Thus as a way to cheer yourself up, engage in self care, treat yourself with your favorite pastry, go to the beach, etc. The easiest way is to acknowledge and tell yourself that,
I am proud of myself that I accomplished this today. Even though I thought I could not do this, I did it!
You are more likely to practise these routines if you feel good about them internally and feel accomplished.
Alternate ways of expressing your emotions :
Condemn the Act not the Person.
Healthier beliefs are those that give us room for growth and development. Here the idea is that you are allowed to express yourself as directly and clearly as possible, without hurting anyone’s feelings. Take the example of being angry. Every time any person is bound to feel angry, the first action they are likely to indulge in is that of criticizing the person who did wrong to them and also the action that made them angry.
I am not saying do not get angry, but unhealthy anger has repercussions. Anger triggers others emotions as well, such as depression, guilt, shame, worry, etc. The correct way of dealing with it exists. A spiritually healthy individual is likely to condemn the ACT the other person engaged in that made them angry, and not the PERSON who made them angry.
Practise tolerance :
Another way in which one can try to separate these feelings from your own self is by practicing active tolerance. A wise man is not he who knows how to argue, but he who knows how to be quiet and accept the views that go against his own. Practicing tolerance does not take no specialization or years of skill training, but requires just a bit of presence of mind at all times in life.
These are ways in which you can separate yourself from overwhelming emotions such as guilt, shame, and words. The journey towards separating might feel a bit draining at times, at times you will feel like giving up to those same old beliefs, but just some perseverance is required. Some mindfulness and regular practice of these activities and I promise you will be the healthiest version of yours, booming with happiness and smiles!