Guilt, why won’t you just leave me the f alone?

Guilt is poison. Guilt is a toxin. And so many people I know are (or have been) virtually crippled by guilt. As in it’s the emotion they feel more than any other – and it keeps them from living the life they want to lead.

That seems counterintuitive at first read, doesn’t it? Don’t we assume that guilt serves a purpose and the purpose is to motivate us? Maybe it worked when we were kids and just developing our moral compass and stuff. But now?

Let’s be honest. Most of what we feel guilt about has NOTHING to do with right and wrong. We feel guilty because we had a cookie. We feel guilty because we didn’t call somebody back, or because we were late walking the dog, or we left the mail in the mailbox for an extra day, or because we cut 5 minutes off of our workout, or because we snuck in an extra episode of Travelers and it almost counts as binge watching.

Sure, sometimes it’s bigger stuff. Why didn’t I know to get my mother to the hospital sooner? I should have known. We should be able to fix things for our parents, our kids, our friends, our spouse, our co-workers, the world. Right?

But here’s the thing about guilt. It’s a con artist. It pretends to be useful. It pretends to motivate us. But in reality, it is stealing us blind. It steals our real motivation out from under us. It robs us from true responsibility. And it definitely thieves meaningful action. Think about it. How do you show up when you feel guilt? Hint: it’s probably not your best self. What kind of actions do you take out of guilt? And if you do take action, what are you thinking about and feeling when you do? I’m gonna guess you aren’t thinking thoughts that lead you to feel gratitude and appreciation and enjoyment, and you aren’t striving to do your best. (Oh God, please let me just get through this and stop feeling guilty.)

So guilt is optional. Yup. You can definitely kick it out of the club. You can call it the liar that it is and say adios. Because guilt doesn’t just happen. It’s a feeling that you feel because of a thought you are thinking. That thought probably starts with something like “I should…” and maybe we don’t want to… and we make it mean that we are a terrible person because we don’t want to or haven’t already… and so we feel guilty.

As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t usually stop to fact check our thoughts, we just think them on auto-pilot. You can pick different thoughts though, because you have that super power.

If guilt is eating you alive or getting in the way of something you want to do, email me: maggie@talktomaggie.com. Let’s set up a free mini-session and I can give you some solid tips on how to kick the guilt habit.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace. A mini session is a short coaching session, where we can talk about what’s holding you back and what you can do about it. What do you have to lose? Literally!

A tisket, a tasket, put it in a basket

You know how when you are in the beginning or middle of something, and you get this idea or thought or thing that you don’t want to lose? And you know how it can distract you completely from what you’re doing? Because you are sure you are going to forget it if you don’t either deal with it or get it on the right list – right now? And how that can completely derail you? It’s a stall tactic from your brain. I have to admit that it’s a pretty good tactic, too, because those ideas, insights and observations are often f*ing brilliant and I really don’t want to lose them.

Well, I have this construct I use for capturing the thought and then giving my brain permission to let it go and get back to focusing on what I want to focus on.

I call it a basket. It’s topical. I suppose it could be tropical, too, which is my brain distracting me from finishing this blog. Anyway, I create a basket with a topic. Like an idea basket. Or a book basket. Or a project basket. Or a lessons learned basket. It’s usually some kind of looming project Then, when I get these brilliant but distracting ideas, I write them down on a post-it or a slip of paper, put them in the basket and put it away. Sometimes I use little boxes that have lids.  Sometimes I slip in a photo or an article.  It’s kinda like a pinterest board, except that I won’t be distracted by cool mermaid tattoos that lead to crochet projects and closet makeover ideas and…

The whole point is that by creating a container, I can put the idea away in a safe place. My brain can trust that it won’t get lost. I can get back to what I want to be doing.

I use this concept with my coaching clients a lot. It’s amazing how easy it is for us to spin out on something that we just don’t even need to think about now. It’s also amazing how much better our brain feels when we know the idea won’t get lost.

When I’m ready to tackle the topic of the basket, I’ll go back in and see what’s in there.  I discovered a wonderful unintended consequence, a bonus. Once I’ve put something in the container, I feel like I’ve made a start. When I have a few things in there, I feel like I’ve got a bit of a foundation. So when it’s time to tackle the topic, I never feel like I’m starting from scratch. My brain thinks that I have a good head start already, and that this is going to be easier!

It’s very simple. But simple is just lovely.

And remember: in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,

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Schedule a free mini session with me (here) and I can help you find a bite of peace, or see if the Tapas for Your Soul Weight Loss program is for you.

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Is there a topic you’d like me to address in a blog? Let me know and I’ll give it a go!