Monday, 19 December 2016

Turn Your Guilt into Gilt.

The emotional alchemy of turning a negative choice into a positive learning.

There are a couple of emotional states that appear to have no value at all, namely 'guilt' and 'anxiety'. My personal belief is that guilt is an invented emotion, just as anxiety is an invented fear to do with the future and unseen.

The event that you've decided to feel guilty about isn't going to go away - it's on your timeline forever. [Unless you know a corrupt Time Lord who'll pop back and fix it for you, you ain't gonna change what happened.] What you can change is your decision to feel bad about it. And then you can learn from it and move forward in a new direction.

So does guilt really have no value? What's its purpose, if any?

Good guilt, if there is such a thing, seeks to provoke change. Good guilt, which I prefer to label as 'repentance', is designed as a catalyst for a turn around. In fact, I'm having a hard job finding the word 'Guilt' at all in the New Testament!!! It's all about having an internal 'alarm' that alerts us to change direction - there's a chance of shipwreck ahead.

We feel bad - so that we can do something about it! (And not so we can wallow in it, or use it as an excuse to paralyse us from taking action.)

Therefore, to change 'Guilt' to 'Gilt' we must learn the lesson, change our minds (metanoia is the Greek verb for repentance - literally to change our way of thinking), and take action in the opposite direction.

As a writer, I may be guilty (couldn't resist that... 'erm, 'sorry'!) of trying to twist a linguistic turn of phrase to serve my purpose. After all, 'Gilt' is only a covering of another substance with Gold leaf or Gold paint. But I think this is perfect. Given that the event can never change, only our perception of it and our response to it, covering the event (the dross, base object) with the beautiful Gold of learning fits perfectly. It may not be pure Alchemy, but it is pure genius.

The process of emotional alchemy - here's a review of the process.

Identify the event that you feel guilty about.

Ask yourself:

what can I learn from this?
what can I do differently, beginning now?
what could I do in future to avoid a repetition?
what's my first physical action step to make progress in a new direction?

Take that action!

Of course the action may require reparation - painful but wise - however, the most important action is to change the orientation of your mind so that you really do move towards what you'd rather have... and to shamelessly mix metaphors... that will lead to the Gold at the end of this rainbow.

A Moodscope member.

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