Guilt = What do I resent? Expression>Ingestion of Feelings. (G=RSMT X EXP>IOF).
Whenever you are feeling guilty ask yourself the following question, “What do I resent?” Guilt is typically experienced when the actual emotion you are feeling is being denied or stuffed back down inside. People pleasers, or those who suffer with the Good Problem (See Good Problem Blog), are virtuosos at feeling guilty.
Do you have a friend or family member who ONLY talks about themselves and NEVER genuinely inquires how you are doing? How about a son or daughter who constantly demands rides, the newest shoes, the latest technologically advanced wireless devices while simultaneously achieving the bare minimum at school and doing next to nothing at home? Have you ever been asked out on a date and said yes ONLY because you sought to avoid the inevitable pangs of guilt if you dared to decline?
These are but a few of the scenarios that call for a healthy expression of REAL emotion. If you were to utilize the above formula with the aforementioned examples, the real emotion would surely emerge. This genuine feeling is overwhelmingly some form of resentment, ranging from rage to anger to annoyance, and can certainly be another emotion, such as sadness. I conceptualize this process, for example, as the resentment being triggered when your friend, yet again, talks on laboriously for 30 minutes and never once asks how you are doing. As the resentment makes it way up through your core and prepares to manifest itself as the expression of a healthy emotion, (This can be done by respectfully ending the conversation and explaining in that moment or perhaps sometime later your reasons for discontinuing the friendship), the guilt intercepts this process of empowering expression and forcefully stuffs the resentment back down to your core. This ingestion of the real emotion insidiously creates a toxic guilt response.
WHEN THE RESENTMENT IS NOT EXPRESSED, ITS INGESTION CREATES GUILT
People pleasers (aka as Good Problemers) are masterful at blaming themselves. They unwittingly transform healthy expression of feeling into self-sabotaging guilt. Guilt has become a dysfunctional friend that specializes in the internalization of feelings. People who habitually internalize their emotions are now extraordinarily prone to heightened anxiety and depression.
So try the guilt formula on for size, experience how genuinely it fits. Pay attention to and honor the real emotion that is attempting to get out, to be healthfully expressed. You deserve it.