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Evolving Guilt...

“I don’t want to just revolve.

I want to evolve.”

—Matthew McConnaughey


I’m not even sure where the impetus to write about guilt came from…maybe from a show I watched recently, where someone was riddled with guilt and how stuck and self-destructive they were. It struck me that they were totally missing the opportunity that guilt was offering them. The airspace was dead around them, stagnant, not even breathing, going nowhere. Sounds pretty melodramatic, but this is how it felt to me as I watched. I remember wanting to yell (or did I?), “Hey, it’s right there in front of you! Take it! Learn the lesson! Change your life!”


Who really knows how guilt got started. Religion is blamed, family is blamed, society is blamed. Somewhere along the way we connected up guilt with feeling ashamed. Remember when your parent used to say to you, “You should BE ashamed of yourself!” They didn’t even say we should FEEL it in the moment. They said we should BE it! I know they had good intentions, that us kids would learn right from wrong, good from bad, and be good people. I get it. When we’re young, though, we just don’t have the tools to weed through that complex psychic field. We just do what they say. We be ashamed, and feel guilty. And this becomes a way of life, constantly defaulting back to feeling guilty about something, even if we don’t know what. Some of us at a young age do tap into some deeper wisdom about this, which usually causes us to rebel and find our way on our own terms. I was one of those. I was determined to figure things out my own way with my own intuition, and while I think that was a good thing I’m sure I also missed plenty of insight from my elders. Not to mention creating some household drama.


Now, all these decades later, and after training and practicing and living in healthy psychological and spiritual principles, I know that guilt is not the enemy if we don’t make it so. It’s an antiquated term that doesn’t speak to how a person can effectively learn a lesson without self-shaming and self-hatred. It’s actually a teacher, and I’m sure there is a better term for it. Humanity has enforced a strong adherence to guilt as a path to repentance, but there are other paths that are much more empowering, and maybe even more importantly, much more productive and efficient in achieving a higher way of being. Guilt itself is only helpful in a flash, where it presents a feeling of something being out of balance, not aligned for us. But holding on longer than this glimpse leads to undue suffering, misinterpretation without investigation.


So how do we evolve guilt? We learn the art of taking full conscious responsibility in life. Not only that, we learn that this responsibility is our strength, and not our downfall. Taking conscious responsibility allows us to see clearly, dive deeply, grow exponentially, honor others without blame, and make much better choices. With practice it becomes joyful to move from feelings of guilt to responsibility because it gives us more understanding and control within the process.



The next time you feel guilty about something, stop and notice how you go through it. Do you blame and shame yourself? Are you mentally abusive to yourself? Do you lash out at others by deflecting the guilt rather than looking at it? Do you go into denial, suppressing emotions which can cause anxiety and depression? Just notice. And know there are really productive ways to move through feelings of guilt and make quantum leaps in your growth.


These feelings that we currently call guilt are part of the human experience, and somewhere along the way we’ve decided it should lead to shame and blame. There is a higher octave of experience here to be had. I invite you to transform this part of your life for a much more satisfying and meaningful journey.


Thanks for reading!


Melanie Hutton

If you want assistance in transforming guilt in your own life, please reach out to me at melanie@innertegrity.com, or visit www.innertegrity.com/sessions for a complimentary consultation.

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