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Banishing that sticky emotion: guilt

with Holly & Co resident coach

Edna O’Brien once described one of her characters as having a “long iceberg of guilt”¹ inside her. How perceptive. How astute. Because that really is exactly how this lurky emotion feels for many of us — and it’s agony. Whether it’s something truly unforgivable or just having not called a friend when we said we would, this paralysing feeling can have a devastating effect on us, our loved ones, our lives and our businesses. And it sticks around way longer than it should. 

So what can we do to unburden ourselves? Are there really ways to learn to live with it? Our resident business psychologist, coach and all round oracle Kate, says in most cases, yes. She’s here to help us understand more about the nature of guilt and our relationship to it, and most importantly, shares some practical pointers on how we can banish it.

So what is guilt and how does it affect us?

Guilt is an emotional state we get into caused by conflict around not doing something we think we should have or doing something we perceive as being ‘wrong’, either on purpose or accidentally. It affects us physically, too. We go red, our stomachs lurch, we can’t sleep, our hearts race… or it might just feel like a blankness, something we learn to live with — even though it can make us very ill.

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