Each woman in this world has a space to fill. Each woman is worthy of infinite blessings from God. Each woman is designed for a noble cause and has capacity for blessed improvement in this life she may lead.
YOU are worthy of your space, your purpose and your path.
Yet, what I am hearing from clients, from friends and from, frankly, my own head, is a tremendous about of guilt caused from what only can be “not good enough” syndrome.
“Oh, I totally botched my diet this weekend! Ugh, I am totally going to have to workout extra this week and cut some extra calories.”
“I never feel like my house is clean enough. I should spend some more time dusting”
“I don’t feel like I’m doing a good enough job parenting. I’m not there enough for them or helping them enough with homework.”
“Everyone at the office is putting in more hours than me, I should to stay late at work so they don’t think I’m the weak link.”
“I should really do something sexy for my husband, but I have just been feeling too tired lately and certainly not sexy.”
“I haven’t spent any time alone with God lately, I am sure He is going to punish me in some way. I really need to go to church this weekend.”
Guilt, especially in women, seems to run rampant in our minds and more gravely in our spirit.
But let’s be very honest with ourselves, GUILT does not bring about any real and lasting change in our lives.
There will always be more things that we “should” be doing better. There will always be ways that we are falling short of perfection. We are human.
I think most women are aware of the guilt that they feel. But it has become a feeling that is so familiar that it may actually become a tactic we use as false motivation.
It’s false because the idea of guilting oneself into true change is like putting a bandaid-type of fix to an open-artery-type of need.
Using guilt as motivation will not bring about true transformation, true change and true relief into any area of our life we are trying to improve whether it be personal, body, family, work, romance, or spirit.
If we take it outside of our own heads, we can clearly see several examples of how guilting others does not in fact motivate anyone for real change.
The “diet” phenomenon is something that is all to common these days, and I am guilty of unintentionally prescribing such ways of thinking early in my nutrition career. By issuing things like exact meal plans and precise diets to follow is basically establishing a set of “rules” that each client is expected to follow in order to garner success in weight loss. The same goes for any diet program or fad that society will flock to, they are essentially establishing their own set of new “rules” to follow.
But, each time we set up “rules” to follow, we are automatically setting up ways for us to issue these same feelings of “guilt” when we inevitably fall short or “cheat”.
The problem with guilting our society into these weight loss “rules” is that it clearly does not have long-lasting results! We have all seen more diet failures than successes! There is a reason why the rate of overweight and obesity is on the rise despite having more diets out there than ever before. Diets and their “rules” don’t work.
None of my clients had any intention of following my meal plan for the rest of their lives just as many people who try out the new fad diet will likely resort back to old eating habits eventually too! Just short months after working with me and finding weight loss success, I saw a great many clients gain back half, if not all, of the weight they had lost and were riddled with guilt about it. The “rules” and the subsequent “guilt motivation” clearly didn’t last! In fact, it just caused more guilt!
Outside of weight loss, I’ve also witnessed this ineffective guilt tactic in the role of religion in our country. While I know a great many of friends that do believe that there is a God and most of whom do believe in Jesus as well, I would say the majority of those that do not embrace a Christian lifestyle don’t because of some religious person or persons that had evoked some sort of rules and guilt tactic on them at some point in their life.
So often, “religious” people get very caught up in the “rules” of the bible and “rules” of following a Christian lifestyle. It is off-putting to think that one has to do so many things in order to make it into heaven! You have to go to church, tithe 10%, get baptized, pray daily, take communion, confession, etc etc etc.
I was blessed to be born into a healthy and faith-based household, but even I have had some very strong and off-putting experiences with “religious” people that were trying to enforce some “Christian” agenda. It did NOT work to get me into church more and it did NOT work to affect any change on my life.
Guilting me about my sin was not an way to get me to change in any real way.
I shudder when I think about those crazy “christian” types that are picketing with signs outside of court houses bashing abortion and gay people and blaming them for our natural disasters.
It is sickening and maddening when people try to use guilt as a motivating tactic, especially when they put the name of God on their own judgement. I am just glad that we have a fair and just God who WILL handle all condemnation in this after life.
We see that these tactics evoke any real change, and yet we still guilt ourselves daily.
One things I know for sure,
GUILT IS NOT FROM GOD.
If you want to truly change your life for the better? Truly transform your heart? Truly realign your soul in the direction you are destined to go?
What you need is…..
Less GUILT and More GOD.
Guilt is not one of the fruits of the Spirit. Guilt is not one of the characteristics that is revealed of God throughout the Bible. Guilt is not the purpose of any one of the teachings of Jesus while he walked this earth.
Any time we feel guilty for not being enough in some way, that is not from God but is the devil trying to keep us playing small by feeling overwhelmed and lost.
God knows that we are never going to get it all done perfectly as much as we might try. God knows that we are human and flawed in our nature. Our imperfection has Greater PURPOSE. God uses it to bless us!
Each one of our flaws opens up a greater opportunity for us to depend on God.
We don’t do it by mastering the religious practices, or by following a specific religious doctrine.
We do it by engaging in an ongoing relationship with Him.
“Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5
Our imperfections are our avenues for God’s amazing grace to dwell and fill the empty space within.
Naturally, all of this elicits the question:
What are we to do with our guilt? How do we actually step away from our natural “guilt” response?
Here are 4 R’s to Remember When You’re Riddled with Guilt:
1.)RECOGNIZE the trigger words in your head
You know the ongoing conversation we have with ourselves in our head? Well, there are repeatable words and phrases that are common when guilting ourselves that we can recognize and change.
“Should” or “shouldn’t”—“I should have gone to the gym this morning.” “I shouldn’t have eaten so much for lunch.
“Ugh”, or “Ick”— Often when looking in the mirror or looking at our messy homes, the first word in our thoughts it something like “ugh.” For some of my close friends lately, it’s more like “ewwww”. 🙂
“Just”– Commonly more of the complaining side of guilt, but phrases like “I just need more time in my day”, “I just wish I could have done more on that project at work.”
Your head might have different catch phrases when thinking guilty thoughts, but I encourage you to take some time to recognize your own thought patterns!
2.) REMEMBER that God is with you in your mind and knows what you are thinking.
What helps me is the second I recognize those trigger words in my head, I think about God sitting in an listening to them. I think of how much He loves me and how much those thoughts don’t serve me or serve Him. I open my heart and my internal ears for Him to gently guide my thoughts to Him and to how HE sees me, not just how I see me.
*Remember, if you have thoughts that God is seeing you with anything other than love, know that these thoughts are from the devil. Do not confuse the two and do not listen to the evil thoughts in your head!*
3.) REPHRASE your thought in a way that is more self loving.
Give yourself credit for what you ARE doing that is right and good and helpful to your life’s improvement. This can be very hard to do in the moment, especially when we are so conditioned to be so hard on ourselves. But opening yourself up even 1x a day for some self love can work wonders in motivating yourself from within.
4.) REFOCUS your effort–
Ask yourself questions like,
“If I wasn’t trying to be perfect right now at everything, how can I use this time to better one area of my life that truly needs it?”
“What is it that I really want and need to do right now.”
So often, we feel guilt because we are trying to juggle a ton of things all at once and not doing any one of them very well!
Stepping back and assessing what God is telling you to focus on “right now” is key!
All day, I now have this conversation with God and truly believe that He is guiding me in the most mundane of activities.
I don’t audibly hear Him talking to me, but it is a spiritual flow that only occurs when I remember to think about Him and I ask for small step guidance.
When I am constantly speaking to God within, I do not have words of guilt flowing through my head. I speak to myself in a more self loving and supportive way which is the most motivating and inspirational way of speaking possible!
Oh, the things I can accomplish when I skip the guilt!! It brings about more joy, more love, more peace and you guessed it…..