Guilt -- And What To Do About It

03/27/2015 02:35 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2015

Everyone knows guilt.

There's mommy guilt, Catholic guilt, food guilt, work guilt, family guilt, exercise guilt... insert your personal type of guilt here.

Guilt starts off with good intentions. It's there so we learn as children not to hurt other people. As adults, it kicks in to keep us from working 80 hours a week instead of spending time with our families. Guilt can be a good deterrent, keeping us on a path we want to be on. Guilt teaches us.

Guilt can also creep in like an unwanted house guest and linger, clouding our decisions and making us do things we don't want to do.

The truth is our emotions are an invitation-only kind of party. Your party means you're the only one in charge of the guest list.

Three Ways to Make Sure Guilt Doesn't Crash Your Party:

1. Question the guilt.
Are you feeling guilty because you didn't go along with the crowd, or are you feeling guilty because you just insulted your coworker? Guilt can keep us in check. If you feel guilty for not doing what others want you to do, then kick that guilt to the curb. But if you're guilt is true, address it.

2. Release the notion of being perfect.
We place a lot of expectations on ourselves, and it can get ugly when we don't measure up. Too fat, too skinny, too busy, too lazy... whatever it is, when guilt gets mixed in with it, it can keep us stuck where we don't want to be. No one is perfect. Not even Beyoncé. Perfectionism has a close companion, and it's name is guilt, but acceptance has no room for guilt. Accept where you are right now in all of your perfectly imperfect ways.

3. Apologize.
Back to that coworker you insulted. It's probably time to apologize. When we own up to our wrongdoing and apologize, the guilt disappears, which means we can let it go. Own what you did, apologize and move on. Don't leave room for the heavy burden of guilt, it's not worth it.

Think of your emotional body as a container -- you've only got so much room to fill. When it's filled with guilt, remorse or resentment, you're using up precious space that could be used for love, excitement and joy. Choose the guest list to your party wisely. If there's a nagging guilt that's justified, address it. Otherwise, release the guilt that's only purpose is to hold you down, and don't invite it back in.

Do you have a guilt story or a way of overcoming guilt? Share it in the comments below.

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Lots of guilt-free love,