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The A – Z of Happiness: G is for . . .

Letting go of Guilt


I used to say to clients that guilt was a wasted emotion.  But I've since come to realise that it's worse than that.  Guilt is in fact a destructive emotion, as it drains your energy, and fosters feelings of shame.  And shame depletes self-esteem.


So, if you catch yourself in the act of feeling guilty, you need to learn to let it go.  I already talked about this somewhat in F is for . . .  (forgiving yourself and others). 


"It is probable that guilt is merely disguised fear of retribution, either divine or by the person wronged, which is why you punish yourself with shame and flagellation.  It's a way, thinks your unconscious mind, to make amends so you don't get punished." ~ Barefoot Doctor


I don't know about you, but when I examined my feelings of guilt in the past, I realised that the above is true.  I believe in karma, and while I do feel genuine remorse for my (perceived) acts of wrongdoing, fear of them coming back to bite me is never far away either.  But actually, focussing attention on your (perceived) shameful deeds is giving them energy, and increasing the likelihood of your perpetuating actions that give rise to more guilt, or indeed attracting your (perceived) deserved retribution.


It's not too promising for your personal growth really.


Now I try not to indulge in feelings of guilt.  They don't contribute to the wellbeing of the person towards whom I'm feeling guilty, and they certainly don't contribute to my wellbeing.  Instead, I treat myself with compassion.  I acknowledge the action I took that I wish I'd done differently, identify how I might rectify the situation, and resolve to do better in future.  Then I let go, and move on.


That's a choice you can make too.  Of course, you can choose the guilt, shame and self-flagellation.  But it won't do you or anyone else any good whatsoever. 


Why not try a different approach instead and see how that serves you?


Giving what you want to receive


“The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy."  ~  Florence Scovell Shinn


The experiences you have in your life are always reflecting your thoughts and feelings – the energy you are emitting. 


So if there is something you want to receive more of in your life, try giving more of that to those around you. Give love, money, attention, support and you will receive love, money, attention and support – just so long as you give it from a place of genuine love and caring for others. This is absolutely key.


Give what you want to receive, but don't give in order to receive.


If you give in order to receive, you will negate the receiving effect. This is because your underlying intention is based in a feeling of lack – that is the energy you’re emitting and therefore you will continue to attract that lack.


But when you focus on genuinely seeking to help and serve others, you will discover, in many surprising ways, that you are receiving much of the same – and often much, much more – back into your own life.


And another added bonus: when you give what you want to receive, you're less likely to act in ways that lead to guilt ;-)



Goals  but treat them lightly!

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” ~ Tom Robbins


I couldn’t really leave out 'Goals', as most people set themselves specific targets, the achievement of which they believe will bring great happiness and a sense of fulfilment.


As a former life coach, I used to be big on goals myself, but I now have a shaky relationship with them.  For me, one of the keys to happiness is to not be too attached to your goals. 


Goals are great for giving you forward focused momentum and a drive to keep going.  And if you don’t know what you want, chances are you’ll meander somewhat aimlessly through life, not feeling any major sense of fulfillment or satisfaction.


However, if you become too attached to your goals, meaning you feel you must achieve them for your life to be meaningful or for you to be happy, you can unconsciously make life a lot more difficult to enjoy.


The thing is, there are a myriad of wonderful opportunities and possibilities out there for you to enjoy, and many of them might never even enter your imagination until they land in your lap out of the blue.  If you fix your sights on specific experiences and outcomes in life, you can blinker yourself to other opportunities.  Often you might not see them, or even if you do you might not give them due consideration because you’ll be tunnel-visioned about what you think you want.


And often what you think you want turns out to not be the Holy Grail you thought it would be.  The reason being is that what you really want is always more conceptual than the specific experience or achievement you focus on. 


What you set as goals are generally How To’s, as in a means of achieving what you really want.  But there is a danger of becoming attached to specific How To’s rather than focusing on the core desire that underlies it.  And that’s where you can close yourself off to other opportunities and possibly to the core desire also.  Just because you can’t imagine another way to get to what you really, really, really want doesn’t mean it’s not out there.  (I wrote about this also in D is for . . . [detach from your desires])


So, the trick is to take your goals, those things that you believe you really, really want in life, and may even believe you need in order to be happy.  Examine them very closely.  Ask yourself, if you had (whatever) in your life, what would it give you.  And what would that give you?  And what lies beneath that? 


Keep peeling back the layers of what you’d get from achieving your goal until you can go no further.  Then you’ve reached the core goal, what it is you really, really want.


Knowing that, your job is then to focus on having that in your life, and being open to all the possible ways that it could come about – even those you can’t imagine right now.


Developing an attitude of Gratitude


“An attitude of gratitude can fend off any sad- itude.”~ Karen Salmansohn


Gratitude is a major happiness booster!  When you are being grateful, you are putting positive attention on the things in your life that you are pleased to be experiencing.   When you practice gratitude regularly, you start to notice more frequently all the many little things in your life there is to be grateful for.


And when you notice the good things, you feel good. When you notice the good things every day, you feel great!


What’s more, gratitude is also a happiness magnet because what you focus on grows.  The more positive things you focus on in your life the more of that comes your way.  Likewise with the bad stuff – if you’re constantly looking out for the next bad thing to hit you, it won’t be long in arriving!


Focusing on all the reasons to be grateful also takes the sting out of the not so great experiences.  It’s easier to cope with life’s tougher moments, and to value the lesson learned from it, when you know you have plenty to be thankful for.


When you make a habit of appreciating the good things in life, you will find yourself consciously looking for things to be grateful for. This opens your mind to a more positive outlook, and starts to feed into the thought pattern you need to positively affect your feelings.


By focusing your attention in this positive manner you will open yourself up to experience more of the same, and better.  The more gratitude you feel, the happier you will be.

And let's face it, being a moany-arse isn't going to make you feel good at all . . .


Previous posts in this series:


A is for . . . (Acceptance, Affirmations, Attention & Law of Attraction, Attitude)

postcript: A is for Awareness

B is for . . . (Being happy now, Beliefs, Doing your Best)

C is for . . . (The Comparison Trap, Connection, Choosing Happiness)

D is for . . . (Deliberate creation, Detachment, Decluttering)

E is for . . . (Energy, Ease & Effortlessness)

F is for . . . (Forgiveness, Letting go of Fear, Freedom, Fun)


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Posted in Attitude, Dreams, gratitude, Happiness, Law of Attraction, Learning, Personal Development, Positivity, transformation, Well Being
5 comments on “The A – Z of Happiness: G is for . . .
  1. Great list of “G”! So many good ones!

  2. I need to tattoo this post to my brain. This is fabulous. Honestly when I was reading the part about guilt I sat there with my mouth agape. When I would binge (Still do sometimes) I feel this deep sense of guilt. Well, the comes from not being thin enough for someone else. Not doing what I think other people would think that I should be doing when it comes to my health. Other people have incurable problems with their health and here I am sabbotaging my own by not eating food that can help me.
    It hit me.
    Then the idea of goals is SO powerful. I have had this ‘goal’ of being a certain weight for like my whole life. I have noticed that when I get hell-bent on a goal, I fail. Well,
    1. I love that you state to let go of that. I have gotten to that goal weight before and then I wanted more. Then I failed and gained the weight back. It wasn’t something that I kept forever, because I felt it was a stop-off in my life and not something that I really wanted to believe I could maintain at the time. It wasn’t for me either, it was for a partner at the time.
    2. Peeling back the layers. I want to be at 168lbs —> I want to feel beautiful —> I am looking for approval from outside sources —> I want to feel good about myself regardless of what weight I am at —> deep desire for self-love/positive body image. NOW THAT..is what I am want. I manifest this intense desire at the core with an outward goal weight…of which I could go about doing that in many different ways.
    Thank you. I just wrote a novel..but I had to. Thank you.

  3. Lance says:

    The idea of guilt is what I have found to be a downward spiral. So, this is really good to read, and think about how I have held onto guilt in the past, and how destructive that has been. And to finish with gratitude on your list of “G” words – Hilda, that just feels so right. So good to read today…

  4. Hilda says:

    Thanks Dani : )
    Hi Mish,
    I hope you manage to let go of the guilt. It never helps. Imperfection is part of the human make-up. And of course we’re all perfect in our imperfection ;-)
    As for goals, I have come to find them limiting and restricting. Working with intentions is more powerful and expansive, and identifying your true intention is about peeling back the layers as you have done. Focusing on self-love and postive body image will definitely be more transformational for you than focusing on a specific goal-weight. Looking forward to reading more about your journey in 2010 : )
    Thanks Lance,
    I’m so glad to finish not only the post, but 2009 with a focus on gratitude. Gratitude is magnetic, and I’m looking forward to many more experiences in 2010 to feel grateful for : )

  5. Betsy Henry says:

    Hi Hilda,
    It’s my first time on your blog and I really enjoyed reading this post. I will continue to follow it. Hope you’ll come see mine at zen-mama.com.
    Betsy Henry

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