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Guilt is a hazardous substance, and you must handle it with care.

Nearly everyone has been exposed to the debilitating effects of guilt. People often attempt to use it to motivate others to change in a positive direction.  Unfortunately, guilt rarely transforms lives in a positive direction, and usually it has the opposite effect.

People overwhelmed by guilt suffer from low self-esteem, and guilt places them in a non-resourceful state.  There is a great risk that the debilitating effects of guilt will make positive change more difficult.

Guilt is relatively ineffective as a motivator for positive change.  It falls more into the realm of punishment you deal out to others or to yourself.

When guilt is repeatedly applied to an individual, he quickly becomes immune to its application.  Each new dose of guilt is less effective in moving behavior in the desired direction.

Guilt has a tendency to immobilize people into a state of inertia.  They tend to wallow in it and spend time punishing themselves for their mistakes.


Punishing yourself with guilt wonít make up for your mistakes.  If you want to make up for the things you have done wrong, do something positive to help those in need.  Donít waste your time and energy in a masochistic guilt ritual.  It wonít make the world a better place or help other people.  It wonít make your life better or fix the problem that caused the guilt in the first place.


Guilt has the wrong focus.  It focuses on your weaknesses and past undesirable behavior.  Whatever you focus on expands into your mind and life.  When you make other people feel guilty, you arenít helping them.  You are focusing them on the wrong thing.  You are giving them an unhealthy focus that predisposes them to repetition of undesirable behavior.


The word guilt is actually an acronym.  Guilt Unleashes Incredibly Limiting Thoughts.  When you feel guilty, inertia takes over, and limitations multiply like jackrabbits in the outback of Australia.

Guilt would be great if it made you stronger.  If it supercharged your life and turned on your afterburners, then guilt would be your best friend.  Unfortunately, guilt does the opposite.  It makes you weaker, puts sand in your supercharger, and snuffs out your afterburner.  When guilt has completed its dastardly deed, it recites a litany of limitations just to remind you that you are a worthless human being, and there is no chance your life will ever improve.  In fact, there is no limit to how miserable your life can become when guilt is in control. 


Guilt is a non-resourceful state.  Your best chance for creating positive change occurs when you are in an empowered state, and you feel like change is possible.  It doesnít make sense to load yourself up with guilt, which places you in a non-resourceful state, and then expect all your problems to magically disappear.

Guilt initiates a downward spiral of low self-esteem, undesirable behavior, more guilt, lower self-esteem, and worse behavior.  The downward spiral ends in despair, depression, and desperation.


Donít punish yourself with guilt.  Instead, use it sparingly as an alarm to tell you when there is a problem.  If you discover a problem, solve it.  Donít waste your time and energy feeling guilty about it.

Donít put guilt in your travel bags.  Lugging around a burden of guilt is wasting energy that could be spent in making the world a better place.  You will never break the back of negative thinking by punishing yourself with guilt.


Healthy guilt is time-limited and proportional to the offense.  When you break the laws that govern the moral universe, you should feel guilty.  God put the capacity for guilt in your heart as an alarm to prevent you from making tragic mistakes.  God designed guilt to help you stay on course as you move in the direction of your dreams.  He didnít mean for guilt to be punishment or to be an instrument of self-destruction.

Guilt is unhealthy when itís not time-limited and itís out of proportion to the magnitude of the offense.  Depression often has a strong component of guilt.  People who feel guilty need to look at their watch and get out their calculator to see if their guilt passes the test.  If they have an all-pervading sense of guilt that goes on endlessly, their guilt is unhealthy. If they stub their toe on moral molehills and end up with a mountain of guilt, then their guilt is clearly out of proportion to their offenses. They need professional help to restore wholeness to their heart and mind.

People overwhelmed by guilt need the assistance of competent counselors who help them regain a positive perspective and put guilt in its proper place.  Guilty people often try to treat themselves, and too often, they fail in their attempt at self-help.  Guilt is a condition that truly benefits from a second opinion by an objective third party.  Good physicians get second opinions all the time, and they are glad to get them.  If you are having a problem with guilt, a second opinion will probably turn your life around.

Whenever you feel guilty, your watch and calculator can be your best friends.  If your guilt doesnít pass the watch and calculator test, then itís time for a second opinion.


Zero Tolerance to Negative Thinking Owner's Manual for Your Mind
Real Power: Maxing Out on God's Love Positive Christian Self-Talk
Positive Self-Talk Red Book Positive Self-Talk Purple Book


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