author atherton drenth

Atherton Drenth

1 June 2017

How many of us are guilty of saying this? Have you ever wondered what purpose guilt serves? When you think about it and I seriously mean, really think about it, guilt has no positive outcome for the person who feels guilty. It only benefits the person we believe we need to protect from suffering. The child who demands a toy when out shopping, the partner who manipulates with guilt trips, the boss who makes you feel guilty for not supporting their latest project idea. The list goes on and on. The result of guilt is always the same. You are left feeling emotionally powerless. It accomplishes nothing but more suffering for you.

Mind you, it didn’t stop me from trying it on for size as new parent. It quickly became obvious that trying to make my children cooperate by making them feel guilty was a useless mind game. I had to laugh the first time one of my children tried to lay a guilt trip on me. We have all been there with the teary eyed, sobbing statement “But everybody else can, why can’t I?” To be honest the pleading did challenge my urge to feel guilty as I sat there wiping away my daughter’s tears. It challenged my emotional boundaries as I contemplated both sides of that little argument.

Personally, as I have grown older I have found guilt to be a waste of time. It takes a lot of energy, doesn’t accomplish anything and the only people who seem to benefit from my feeling guilty is everybody else but me. Maybe I am being selfish but it doesn’t make sense to me that I should downplay how I feel to make someone else feel better. That feels like a lie. Emotional boundaries get just too blurred to see clearly.

Guilt is a self-created emotional minefield that serves no purpose. Guilt, I have come to learn is a man-made construct, not a God created one. In Elizabeth Lesser’s book, The Seekers Guide, she quotes author, Sister Wendy, who says, “I don’t think being human has any place for guilt. Contrition, yes. Guilt no. Contrition means you tell God you are sorry and you’re not going to do it again and you start off afresh. Guilt is a trap. People love guilt because they feel if they suffer enough guilt, they’ll make up for what they’ve done.”

I love the analogy she uses when she compares guilt to “sitting in a puddle and splashing.” My mother called it, “wallowing in self-pity.” It’s a great little pity party but you don’t grow emotionally or spiritually. On the other hand, if you own up to the problem, you learn, you mature and get on with life.

Emotional boundaries always suffer when there is guilt involved. Guilt isn’t honest. Guilt is about being afraid to be honest – with yourself (wants and needs) and being able to verbalize those feelings. I think that if we were more honest with our own needs and stopped being afraid to speak up we would have more honest emotional relationships with our loved ones. The reverse is also true though, if someone has the courage to be honest with you about how they are feeling, accept it with grace and don’t stoop so low as to try to make them feel guilty for speaking their truth.  We all deserve honesty – both spoken and heard. Feeling guilty isn’t going to get you there. It is a man-made construct not a God created one.

1- Lesser, E. (1999). The Seeker’s Guide. New York: Villard. p. 386.

Atherton Drenth is the author of Intuitive Dance. Building, Protecting & Clearing Your Energy, (Llewellyn Worldwide) and Following Body Wisdom. She is also a contributing author to the Amazon Best Selling book, “365 Moments of Grace”. Atherton has been featured on several radio shows, is a guest blogger at Ask Dr. Nandi and is a regular contributing editor for the Paradigm Pages Newsletter. Atherton also appears in the documentary, Voyage to Betterment” as one of 12 experts along with other internationally renowned physicians, researchers, and pioneers in the fields of consciousness research and spirituality.

Atherton is a Clairvoyant, Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner facilitating transformational healing for her clients. She has been extensively trained and certified as a Medical Intuitive and Holistic Energy Practitioner. She has been in private practice since 2000. She is also a compassionate teacher committed to helping others develop their full intuitive potential through yearly workshops. She has a private practice in Guelph, Ontario.