Values Based Decision Making for Guilt

Guilt it’s a terrible, confusing thing that I actually think we overcomplicate.

What Is Guilt?

Hi, folks it’s Christopher Lawrence. Do you not love this green wall behind me? I just love this. It’s one of my favorite parts of the office. Listen, today I wanted to talk to you about guilt. It’s a terrible confusing thing that I actually think we overcomplicate. By the way, if you wanna check me out, learn more about how I help people with guilt, check out I do career and life coaching and motivational coaching. Which I would love to share with you. And by the way, if you like that green wall just give us a thumbs up. But let’s talk about guilt for a second. So here’s what I have come to know between research I’ve done and also personal experience for myself and working with over 2,000 clients in one-on-one face to face settings. Here’s what I’ve come to know about guilt. Guilt usually comes when we have a value that’s not in line with another value, okay? Or a set of value is not in line with a value or another set of values, okay? Does that makes sense?

Would You Steal A Loaf of Bread?

So it can be one value to many values, or one value to one value, or many values to many values. And when they’re not in line, we can experience the feeling of guilt or even resentment. So I’ll give you an example. If your family was starving, and you had no way of feeding them, would you steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family? Hmm, complex issue. Most of us are in the position in our world where we could reach out to some kind of a social service, but there are still some people who are in that position, it seems like it’s a very difficult thing, right? So I don’t wanna minimize that. But what would you do? When I think to myself, what would I do? And honestly, I’d probably steal the loaf of bread to feed my starving family. But then I would experience the feeling of guilt. And so then what do you do with this? Right? What do you do with it? Well, on one hand, I have a value around not stealing, and following the rules and doing everything I can to do that. And on the other hand, I have a value around taking care of my family and making sure they’re fed, right? So how do you reconcile this?

How To Move Through Guilt

Well, there’s a couple of ways that we can do this to move through guilt or resentment. And one of them, and this is my favorite question, so some, the obvious question is which value is most important or which set of values is most important right now? Well, I think that’s a great second question but it’s not a great first question. The first question we should ask is, how could I express both of these values at the same time? And if you’re struggling with this, you should reach out to me ’cause I’ve got a pretty good keen knack on being able to help people move through this emotion. This complex emotion of guilt. But the idea is that actually we become innovative with our own selves, with our own thinking.

How Can I Express Both Values at The Same Time?

So how could I express both values at the same time? Well, in my opinion, the first thing actually, if we were talking about the stealing the bread would be like, well, what if I went to the baker and I said, “Listen, I know every day you throw out some baking because it’s burned, and you can’t sell it. So what if I worked for your burned bread? I’d be happy to do it. You don’t even have to pay me.” I mean, I’m talking like 1700s here ’cause I think the world is at a different place, but I’m just giving you a really simple metaphor, right? So it’s like, “What if I worked for your burned bread?” So you don’t have to pay me but just pay me with food. So it doesn’t really cost you anything. And I’ll even take your day old stuff that you can’t sell anymore. Or your burned stuff that you can’t really sell. So I’ll do that. And then I can express both values. I can express my value of honesty and following the rules. And I can express my value around taking care and feeding my family.

Sometimes We Have To Compromise Our Values

Sometimes we can’t actually come up with something that’s innovative. And we do have to compromise one of our values for the other. And that’s when we can expect to feel guilt. It will happen in your life. It still happens in my life today, even though I make values-based decisions. Write that down. You wanna start making values-based decisions. So sometimes we do compromise one value over the other. The differences when you’re aware that you’re doing that, I find in my personal experience, guilt starts to shift a little bit. I can move through it faster because I understand why I am feeling guilty and I understand that I had to make the best choice possible for the circumstance that I was in at the time.

Sometimes We Have To Shift Our Perception

The other option, and we do have values and guilts. Like there’s, oh sorry, values and conflict. It does happen all the time. Anybody that says, “You should honor your values 100% of the time.” It’s like, well, that’s not always possible. Sometimes circumstance doesn’t allow for it. So yep, I agree with that 100% of the time, when that’s possible, but sometimes it’s not. The other thing that I might suggest too, is that sometimes the way that we can move through this is actually by shifting the value. So it’s like, I have a value around taking care of my family, and I have a value of not stealing. And the baker said, “No, you can’t go and put the, you can’t work for me”. You can’t express your value system. “You can’t work for me for my burned bread”. So then what I start to say is, well, is there a way for me to shift my value system where maybe, and I don’t know if the bread example is a good example, but maybe there’s a perception that I can shift in my value system that allows me to look at it differently. So maybe, instead of looking at it of I don’t know how to take care of my family, maybe I shift my value system and understand that the circumstance is getting in the way, and it’s completely out of my control, right? So I’m not saying that as rationalization to appease stealing bread. What I’m saying is that sometimes we do have to shift our perception and look at it differently, right?

We might have a value around spending time with family, but when we spend time with family, we don’t feel very good, because maybe we’ve got a family member who is a bully or something. And so it’s like, well, what do you do in that case? And it’s like, actually, in that case, you might say, well, I need to shift my value system. I value spending time with my family, but under different circumstances, right? So then it’s a shift in perception rather than shift in circumstance or innovation, all of which are cool. So I hope that was helpful. This video has gone on way too long. Again, my name is Christopher Lawrence. If you’d like to learn more about values-based decision making, or learn more about how to process guilt, which is different from shame by the way, do not confuse the two. Feel free to reach out to me and you can click on my profile there and check out what we do and how I might be able to help you. Talk to you soon, bye.

Check out this vlog about Acute Self-Awareness to Change Thoughts/Habits!

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