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Feb. 16, 2022

Episode 13: Pursuing Authenticity In a World That Expects Perfection

Episode 13: Pursuing Authenticity In a World That Expects Perfection

Do you ever feel like you have to "hide" an aspect of yourself when you are around others? Do you feel like if they knew "this" about you that they may not accept or welcome you? You are not alone!

So many of us feel the same way - but we don't have to!

This episode is about how we can remove our masks and be our authentic selves in a world that wants us to be perfect.

Download: My Wheel Of Life Assessment.

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Transcript
Melissa:

Do you often think about the things you should have done, could have done and would have done if it weren't for the fill in the blank reason? Do you routinely feel guilt or shame for things you have done or failed to do? Is it your habit to worry about whether you are enough as a parent, a spouse, a friend. Do you feel like you hide behind a mask when you're in public? That if people knew the real you, they wouldn't like you let alone love you. Do you live your life or parts of it? Feeling like you have to hide some of yourself to be acceptable to others, that if they knew everything about you, particularly this one thing, they would run away. If this describes you, you are certainly not alone. So let's talk about guilt and why we have it and how we can get rid of it. Whether you are aware of your guilt based feelings or you have been operating under guilt, completely unaware of its impact. I invite you to let, go with a guilt and find new and better ways. To operate. Guilt. Is a heavy burden. Guilt can cause physical and psychological harm left unmanaged guilt can Morphin to seemingly unrelated issues that draw attention, but aren't solved when you go to the doctor or change your mindset. Things like ulcers. High blood pressure, skin issues, weight loss, or weight game anger, anxiety, isolation. A lot of the times when you go to the doctor with these issues, they will prescribe medicine to help manage them. But they don't ask the question. Do you feel guilty about anything or are you holding on to any negative emotions that might be causing these things? And guilt can mimic other diseases or other mental health issues. Knowing this impact makes it important to rid any guilt that could be ravaging, your physical and mental health. Mistaking physical and mental health systems as unrelated to guilt can cost money, time, and energy. That you could be using. So, what can you do to stop all of this? Well, let's talk about guilt. In general, there are three different types of guilt. There's reactive guilt. This happens when a person believes that they have acted against either their own personal beliefs of what is morally good. Or the standards that society has for acceptable behavior. There's anticipatory guilt. This guilt is a result of thinking about acting against personal moral standards or the standards of society. A person may not choose to take certain action because they know it is wrong or believe it may hurt others, but feel guilt for having those thoughts. And there's existential guilt. This can be a little more complicated. Existential guilt can describe a person's feelings for general injustice. Or the idea that life isn't fair. It can also describe the guilt. A person feels for the negative impact they may have on the lives of others. A lot of times we may encounter this when we deal with issues of racial injustice. Or issues on a broad scale that we can't control, but in living our lives, the way that we go forth each day has an impact and often negative. On people in other parts of the world. That's what existential guilt is. Some common causes of guilt. Now there's a lot of different. Ways that we can feel guilty in a lot of different reasons why we may feel guilty, but here are some common ones. This is a big one. Surviving trauma or disaster. This is really common in soldiers who survive an attack that others did not. It's often at the root of posttraumatic stress and a lot of the trauma that is experienced when soldiers return home. And this can also be present in a sibling who survived a traumatic childhood experience. But whose siblings were never able to cope in struggle with addictions to drugs or alcohol. Sometimes that sibling that did survive in is able to cope can feel a little guilt. That he or she is doing well when his or her siblings are not. There are a lot of different ways. This can manifest. Another type of guilt is conflict between personal values and choices you've made. If you've ever done something that conflicts with your values or moral code, you have probably experienced this type of guilt. Notice that there's a nuance here. It doesn't say doing something bad necessarily, but if you do something, quote unquote bad. And feel like that you shouldn't have. That's when guilt is around. There could be a person whose steals from his or her employer and feels entitled to do so that the employer is operating in bad faith somehow. And they are justified in stealing what they are stealing. This person is not going to feel guilt. Even though they are taking property or possessions that are not theirs. Likewise, a person who is out on a walk may find a wallet laying on the sidewalk and has no identification. And there is no way to return that wallet to its owner, or even find who the owner might be. And there's money inside. And that person may feel guilty for a long time taking that $20 out of a wallet where they had no hope of reuniting it with its original owner. So again, there's the action. And the feeling about that action. Some people may feel guilt over mental or physical health concerns. As a pastor, I have encountered this a lot. Some people feel guilty for health conditions that have affected their families. And. Whether it's through an accident or through a health condition, they often feel a tremendous amount of guilt. For the impact is having on their families. Another source is thoughts or desires that you believe you shouldn't have. Or taking care of your own needs when you believe you should focus on others. This is a big one. Especially when it comes to parents, we hear a lot about mom guilt, but I think that dads feel a lot of this as well. Mom, guilt and dad, guilt are big things. I know it's hard to tend to our personal needs when our kids need us or when our families need us. I know dads who come home from a long day of work and are just exhausted. And feel like, Ugh, they're failing somehow or feel guilty because they're not. Pitching in or doing something. And I know moms who feel guilty for not doing everything and not doing everything perfectly for their families. So there a lot of guilt that's felt. As parents. I know people that feel guilty having gotten divorced. People feel guilty for working long hours. Or for not being the person they feel they ought to be for not living up to the potential. They felt they should have. Have you ever worried about not being enough? Anyone. This gets to be even more pronounced when people feel like the guilt they feel is their just punishment for the mistakes they have made. I understand. I have been there. I hear you. I you see you. I understand you. When you were in this frame of mind, it's hard to imagine that you deserve to have a good and healthy life you do, by the way. Yes, you you who just said to yourself, okay. That applies to others. But not to me. I am talking to you too. If you are stuck in that spot. Let me ask you a question. The people in your life that you love and care for. Are they well-served by a wounded. You. Or would they benefit from a healthier, you. You and the people in your life will benefit from a healthier. And happier you. So if you're stuck feeling guilt and you feel like that you have to feel it, that it's somehow justified that you are serving out a sentence. I invite you. To re-examine that thought and to set it aside, So, where do we start? How do we let go and set aside all this guilt that we feel. Whether you feel. Like you need forgiveness from someone else, or you need to forgive someone else or make amends to someone else. Or whether that person is you, maybe you need to forgive yourself. Maybe you need to make amends to yourself. Whatever the case may be. It takes a minute to get to that point. I know you can't just say, oh, great idea. I'm glad I listened to this podcast episode today. I'm going to run out and do that. I mean, if he can, that's fantastic. And I applaud you. But for most of us, we kind of got to do some stuff to build up to that point. The way I go about this is I use an acronym, Car, C a R. Let's get into this and unpack it a little bit. And if you're wanting to forgive something, or if you're wanting to heal from something, this is a good process that will help you to heal and overcome, a type of emotional wound that you may have. And if you're looking to jettison some guilt, This is also a helpful process. But car. Let's start with the C. First you choose. You got to make that choice internally that you are going to kick this to the curb. And it's important that you make that choice because it's not going to just happen on its own or over time, but it's a conscious and intentional process. So choose. To do the work, choose to make the time to deal with it once. And for all. And to get it out of your life. And there are a lot of strategies to help you get to this point. You can use evaluative tools like, a life wheel to help you get a clear view on what your life looks like in several different areas and where you would like to experience growth. If you're not familiar with that, I'll put a link in the show notes that you can click on to get an idea of what that is. You can also use visualization exercises and affirmations. Most importantly, I invite you to get clear on your, why. And by that, I mean, what is your biggest inspiration in this world? What gets you out of bed and inspires you through the difficult days to keep going? That is your why? Be clear on this. What is your, why? What is the one thing that heaven or hell or anything in between would not prevent you from showing up and being present for? Be very clear. On what that is. So make the decision. Choose. To overcome this feeling of guilt. And once you're committed to healing and have given yourself the permission to do it, the next step is to acknowledge it's our letter, a acknowledge all the ways. This is. And has impacted your life. What you can acknowledge, you can heal. So be honest with yourself here. What are the ways that this has impacted you? And is impacting you. And does it affect your work? Does it affect your kids? Your partners, your friends. All of your relationships. Now this step is the most difficult part. You may want to journal through this or meditate or find a safe person, find someone whom you deeply trust that you can do a brain dumper soul dump with. Someone who won't judge you, and really won't even give you advice or say much, but we'll just provide a safe space. For you to get it all out. Acknowledge all of the ways that this is affecting you and sit with that a little bit. Choose to overcome the guilt and acknowledge all of the ways that it is impacting and affecting your life. After you choose to do the work. After you acknowledge all of the ways it is affecting you. It's time to redefine. And this can be a fun part. What is possible for you now that you are moving through and beyond this. What is. Available to you now. That wasn't before. Guided meditations and visualization exercises can be really helpful in this process. Or journaling or even a vision board, if you're a visual person. What is possible for you now in your relationships with friends and family? Once you have set this aside, Or what's available with a romantic partner. Or how about at work or with your kids or even in your spiritual life? Imagine what is possible and available for you when this monkey that has been on your back? Is outta your life. So it's a simple, but not easy process. And that's the way, most big things in life are, you know? There's a simple solution, but it's never easy to implement. And I will. Grading you that it's not easy work. The process is simple, but the work is hard, but I know you can do it. And if you want help along the way, reach out. There are a lot of people that are cheering for you that are rooting for you that want you to succeed in life. And that will support you along the way. So remember. Get in the car. Choose. Choose to overcome this. Acknowledge acknowledge all of the ways that this is impacted your life and continues to impact your life. And then the fun part redefine. What is possible for you? Once this is gone. Choose acknowledge, redefine. Car. And once you do the work, don't forget to celebrate you and all the people you love and who love you. Are going to benefit from a happier and healthier. You. Now, I know this was just a really quick 15 minute run through of guilt, and that's a topic that people could spend years on. But I wanted to just scratch the surface a little bit for a few reasons. One, I wanted you to know you are not alone. Every single person I know, including me. We struggle with this. We all have those things that embarrass us like, oh my gosh, I hope nobody ever finds out that about me. We all have that. In our lives. But we don't have to be bound by that. We can move past it. We can acknowledge that it has affected us. And we can let it go. We really can. So I wanted you to know that you're not alone. And secondly, I wanted you to know that there is a future waiting for you beyond this truth about yourself. Guess what? You're not perfect. Neither am I neither is anybody else you're going to set eyes on today. None of us are we are all flawed people doing the best we can in this life. And we have grace. We can't go back and undo what has happened before. But neither do we have to live bound by its consequences. We can heal ourselves from the inside out. And have an abundant life. So I wanted you to know that you're not alone. And there is a future possible without that event still binding you. And you can do this. There's a process that people have used time and time. Again, it's a simple process. It's not easy, but it is simple and you can do this. And there are a lot of tools out there to support you in your work in there. A lot of people out there. And even if you think that people are gonna judge you well, some may, but I bet that there are a lot more people. That want you to succeed, that there are people just waiting to cheer you on. Those are your people. And those people will be around you to celebrate with you. With each success that you have in this life. And count me among them. I want you to succeed beyond your wildest dreams. And whatever succeed means to you, whether that means waking up with joy each day in gratitude each evening, or whether that means overcoming every obstacle that stands in your way. However you define the good life for yourself. I want you to have it. I want to cheer you on. So if you do any of this work if you succeed in any of these things let me know reach out i would love to see are you on and to celebrate you And to know that the light of this world, the source of all that is good. And true and loving. Once you to have the best life possible. Breathe in that truth. Exhale, all of the other negative stuff. No, that you were fearfully and wonderfully made and that you can have an abundant life.