There will always be people in your life who attempt to manipulate you by guilt. They are not bad people; they have a bad habit. None of us were born with feelings of guilt. It’s learned. And the good news is, anything can be unlearned.
The root of guilt is criticism. When a person suggests things that you SHOULD have done, or asks why DIDN’T you, they are essentially criticizing the choice you made instead. Here’s the deal. Guilt never works long term. Criticism doesn’t work. People become what you inspire them to be, not what you nag them to be. Guilt is naggy. Nobody likes a nag.
When a critical person is delivering their message, we act like we’re listening but we’re waiting for them to get done. We are not inspired by criticism. We feel bullied and intimidated. Behaviors may change short term, but there is no long term inspiration to seek out permanent change.
- Stop criticizing yourself. We are our worst enemies. Say one nice thing to yourself when you wake up in the morning. Everyday. I am…”insert a positive attribute.”
- Stop criticizing others. We tend to focus on the negatives of others. No one is perfect. You are not perfect. You are very, very good…but you are not perfect. Shine light on what is good and it will grow.
- Refuse to be manipulated by guilt. Have you ever thought of calling someone out who consistently tries to guilt you into doing things? A non-combative intelligent question is often times the best answer. “Are you trying to manipulate me by using guilt?” State that your intention for asking is not to battle, but to make the current relationship better.
- Again, if you are critical, or use guilt as a means to an end, it does not make you a bad person. You simply have a bad habit. Any habit can be changed. Your intention may be brilliant, but be mindful how you communicate your message. Listen to yourself. How would you respond to you? Most importantly listen to how YOU speak to YOU.