There are two emotions that people are notorious for feeling on a regular basis that actually do us no good whatsoever. One of these emotions keeps us focused in the past and the other has us preoccupied with the future. And knowing that emotions are simply a signal to pay attention to something, these two emotions are actually alerting us to some deeper emotions beneath, but in and of themselves are pretty useless emotions. In fact, these emotions are so insidious that they can be crippling to us if we let them run wild in our imaginations and in our bodies. They reduce our productivity and impact, distract our mental focus, and can keep us in a state of inertia.
Can you guess what they are?
The two useless emotions are guilt and worry. Let’s take a look at them one at a time.
We’ve all known a worrywart – this is a person that is more engaged with the future that they’re imagining in their heads than they are with what’s happening in the present moment. Every conceivable negative possibility is on their mind, and they’re consumed with it.
Worry is a state of anxiety or uneasiness over actual or potential problems. Worry however, is an unproductive emotion. The same thoughts just keep cycling without ever churning out a lesson or an action.
What we need to do to stop that unproductive cycle is recognize that worry is a form of fear. And the purpose of fear is to keep us out of harm’s way; it’s a survival instinct. So fear tells us that some action must be taken and/or something must be protected. This is also true for worry.
The next time you’re worrying about something, ask yourself, “What must be done?” and then do it. Get it handled, so you can let go of the worry. It serves no purpose otherwise.
Guilt, on the other hand, is focused on the past. People who are consumed with guilt will re-hash past events over and over in their minds, pondering all the could’ve’s, should’ve’s, and wish-I’d’s. The reality is we can’t change the past. All of this regurgitating of past events is a waste of energy.
Guilt is a feeling of being at fault; of having committed an offense. The reason we feel guilty is that upon reflection, we feel badly about our behaviour. And we feel badly about our behaviour because we behaved in a way that was against to our core values. Once we recognize this, we can re-align ourselves to our core values and recommit to honouring them by choosing to do it differently next time.
The next step is to take action to right our behaviour from the past that we’re feeling badly about. This may be done by communicating with the people involved, or it may be done alone by writing a letter that is never sent, or simply making peace within you by sending a blessing, for example. Either way, once you take action, you can let go of the guilt.
I’d love to hear how you’ve stepped out of the guilt and worry cycles. And don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog too if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,