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5 Ways Guilt Negatively Impacts You

5 Ways Guilt Negatively Impacts You

I once thought I was depressed for my entire life – it turns out I was just Catholic. While I’m no longer Catholic, my guilt is. Confronting this guilt and learning to move past it was one of the most important steps to success I ever took in my life. Morality, ethics and compassion are important human traits, and, while guilt can also be valuable, it shouldn’t be the driving factor motivating you to be a good person. There are a million reasons to be a good person, and “to make up for a bad deed” is the least altruistic. Here’s how guilt negatively impacts your life. 

1. Guilt Affects You Physically

The feeling of guilt can weigh you down – it’s a gateway to regret. Both emotions start to weigh you down over time when not properly addressed. If you don’t immediately confront your guilt, it piles on, and can physically make you sick. Not only that, it negatively impacts your life decisions. You’ll eat less healthy, exercise less and slowly deteriorate over time.

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It’s not just physical health; guilt affects your physical body language, including your walk, stance and facial expressions. It can distract you from proper hygiene; and your wandering mind can cause you to miss minor details when getting dressed, such as leaving your fly down or tucking your shirt into your underwear.

2. Guilt Impedes Success

It’s hard enough getting a job or promotion with your fly down and your underwear showing. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that you’ve been wasting your time thinking about all the “bad” things you’ve done to people instead of keeping up to date on the latest info in your field. Can you think of one successful corporation or person who never made a decision that hurt someone?

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If you can, you’re wrong. Hurting someone may not be the intent, but the more people your decisions affect, the more impossible it becomes to make a decision that doesn’t hurt someone. It’s not possible for President Obama to make any decision that helps everyone without negatively impacting anyone. That’s how success works – you have to be cutthroat, or you’ll never achieve it.

3. Guilt Makes You Punish Yourself

In nature, brute strength, speed, and other physical attributes determine your survival. Human society is different in that intelligence and invention can overcome physical mismatches. As we evolved, we created organized religion as a way to protect ourselves. Someone bigger than me could kill me, but he’s unlikely to do so when faced with the possibility of being tortured in the afterlife by someone bigger than he is.

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Over time religion evolved, but the essence is unchanged. We’re trained by many religious teachers and practitioners to punish ourselves for crossing moral lines. Why punish yourself with guilt though? If you’re doing something wrong, you’ll be punished in the afterlife anyway, so you may as well enjoy the short lifespan you have before eternity.

4. Guilt Changes Your Personality

When you’re wrapped up in guilt, you may feel like you’re the same person, but people perceive you differently. Over time you become hardened, and some people will tell you this is called maturing and growing up, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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It’s a fallacy that you can’t maintain the same level of curiosity, pleasure and excitement you had as a child throughout your entire life. You don’t have to be sour, overly-careful and judgmental to be an adult. Drop the guilt.

5. Guilt Ruins Your Life

Everyone makes mistakes – despite our best intentions, nobody makes it through life without harming someone. I’m not saying you should intentionally harm people, but you do need to accept that your actions could harm people. You can’t please all the people all the time, but if you’re overly worried about the negative impacts of your actions, you’ll miss out on a lot of opportunities.

Instead of sitting on the sidelines playing it safe, learn to focus on the positive impact of your actions. When you focus on the greater good, you’ll feel much more fulfilled.

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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