The Vibrant Moment – Remember: Say No to Guilt.
Tools from the Center for New Psychology
Publisher: Dr. Doris Jeanette, Transformational Coach, Mentor
A regular reader of The Vibrant Moment asks:
“I am a people pleaser! I learned it from my mom. I recently told
some family members “no” to an upcoming event. It felt like the right
choice for our immediate family. My Aunt was very disappointed. I
felt the disappointment. Because I am a sensitive person I felt all
of her and everyone else’s displeasure. Because they do a lot for us
I especially felt guilty. How do I STOP feeling guilty for doing
what’s best for me? I am such a caring person …it feels like I’m
not caring by not adjusting myself to meet others. I know this is not
good for me. Please help me learn this!! How do I go through life
with more ease? How can I be a caring person while not ignoring my
Saying no is extremely hard to do when you know someone you care
about will be unhappy with you. None of us want to make others
unhappy. Definitely, not those we love and care about.
Therein lies the problem; you are in a catch 22. Or so it seems. You
feel bad if you say no. You feel bad if you say yes. Yuck.
Just this week I said no and two people pressured me to say yes. I
said no again. The pressure continued and one of them said something
unkind to me, shaming me. I gave in and said yes.
The consequences of saying yes created a huge mess for me. As a
result of their poor judgment, I had to spend two days- literally
-cleaning up the mess their behavior created. Not only am I angry
with the person who pressured me with shame, I am angry at myself
for not having the courage to follow through with what was best for me.
My jaw is tight and my rage is furious like Pele, the Hawaiian
Goddess. So, what is the healthy thing to do?
Do you feel rage and not get what you want?
Or, do you feel guilt and get what you want?
The choice is yours. Keep reality in mind. Real anger at betraying
yourself will never go away. Real anger is a healthy response to
hurting yourself or being hurt by others. On the other hand, guilt is
a conditioned response. You were taught to feel guilt. This is great
news because this means you can unlearn your guilt response over
time with practice.
During my post-doc at Temple Medical School, studying with a large
group of famous behavior therapists, I learned that guilt should
NEVER be the reason for any decision or behavior. Guilt is a form of
brain washing, like shame. Dr. Goldstein told us, “Never let guilt
control you and teach this to your clients.” I took this knowing to
heart, using it to free myself from unhealthy learnings. You can do
Let’s look deeper into the relationship dynamics that are occurring
when you feel guilt. For example, when your Aunt is disappointed in
you, she is making you responsible for her happiness! Making you
responsible for her happiness is an impossible, thus, unhealthy way
to relate to you. Do you really want to take on the burden of having
to make her happy? The truth is, you are sure to fail because only
she can make herself happy.
Consider the fact that if your Aunt was considerate of you, she would
be happy with whatever was best for you. She would be understanding
and loving toward you. She would be supportive of you taking care of
your large family and many responsibilities. She would not guilt trip
you. If she wants you at an event, she needs to plan it with you. Then
it would occur at a good time for you and your family.
For more about how to desensitize yourself to guilt read the library
article, “How to Live a Guilt Free Life,” at:
SAY NO TO GUILT: “I ordered your guilt audio many years ago. It
worked.” A one-hour tele-seminar, Find Peace Beyond Guilt and
Judgment, teaches you how to stand up for yourself and say no. Over
time guilt disappears and you feel free and happy. You become a
person who is not easily guilt-tripped! $29.97, money-back guarantee
Order the effective audio, Find Peace Beyond Guilt and Judgment:
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Learn more about assertive behavior and order “Stop the World
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