Guilt Riddance


We all hate it, and it can cling to us no matter what we do.

Why is that?

Where Does Guilt Come From?

I think guilt is interesting in a way. None of us are born with it, and yet it is like a plague of emotional contamination in our lives. Many of us are taught to feel guilty from a young age. I know I certainly was.

So why do we need it? Do we need it? If we do not think we need it, why would someone else think we do?

Guilt is taught to children probably because of the belief that humans are intrinsically “bad” and need guilt to prevent them from being destructive. Given the many studies and anecdotal experience which demonstrates the natural empathy of humans, isn’t it strange that we think we need an emotional mechanism to control people?

Are People Intrinsically Bad?

The idea that people are intrinsically bad has been around for a long time. Many religions, including my inherited one, promote the idea of original sin, an assumed badness that must be trained out of the individual. Unfortunately, a defined idea of goodness and badness is irrelevant in reality and serves to create order not goodness. How deceptive!

In a simplistic way, if we look at the traditional definitions of a “good” man we are offered: strong, in control, provider, unemotional, rational. These are soldier characteristics. Soldiers are meant to maintain order. A traditionally “good” woman is self-sacrificing, modest, family oriented. A woman who supports others in particular men who keep the order in society.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these characteristics. That is the problem. They can be useful, but so can others. They keep the order in society at the expense of our development into whole, intentional and compassionate human beings.

The Dirty Secret Of Guilt

Guilt has a dirty secret. When we try to make someone else feel guilty we are really making them responsible for us, and our feelings. At a group level, that means that we make some people responsible for the feelings of others. This dynamic is the basis of oppression and discrimination.

Such guilt-based expectation means that others have to be a certain way for us to feel safe. It is a preemptive strategy that denies someone else their becoming and takes their life force to meet our needs. It is a way to operate as an emotional vampire without being honest about it. All in the name of safety.

The High Cost Of Guilt-Based Stereotypes

Stereotypes result in dependency. Traditionally, men are responsible for “thinking” and women for “feeling”. What a mess that has created!

More importantly, we give up important parts of ourselves when we submit to stereotypes. Thinking and feeling are not really separate parts of ourselves. They inform each other or should. When we split off parts of ourselves we lose our resilience and effectiveness. Then we really lose our goodness.

Maintaining order has been a primary goal of social organization for thousands of years. Many consider it necessary for our survival. I am certain that at some time it was. However, we have to wonder whether or not so much effort needs to be expended by various groups trying to impose their version of order on others.

Do we need to cripple people with guilt to keep them docile and quiet? Do we need to cripple people with burdensome identities that prevent them from developing their true Selves? Do we need to cripple people with fear of each other so that we can maintain the investment of outworn structures? Do we need to make people afraid of parts of themselves so that they fear introspection? Do we need to maintain false certainties to promote self-doubt in the thinkers and questioners in our societies?

 A False Bargain

When we submit to guilt-induced ideas about right and wrong, we are abdicating the stewardship of our well being and even our souls. We are allowing that approval is the same thing as happiness and then wonder why we cannot understand what is missing.

What is missing is us, our authentic selves. When we give up guilt, we invite our authentic self to emerge.

I think that is a fabulous deal.

Photo by Emiliano Vittoriosi on Unsplash

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. In addition, she has created the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program using cultural and personal development frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also offers The Magic Of Joy program for quantum healing and the Emerging Sensitive Community focused on living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. She is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is a Certified Theta Healer and certified in Spiral Dynamics. She is an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.


  1. vanessa on April 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Forgive me if I’m a little (a lot) off topic here but I am just experiencing something and was wondering about something and thought maybe you have already studied what I’m going to ask and have a short answer 🙂

    I am HSP (I pretty much think so), I scored almost full score on one test (minus 25 points or so to the full possible score), and I’m feeling extremely stressed right now, I also have PMS and diabetes 1 (after a massive period of extreme stress, I think my cortisol levels just went whack and stopped the production, I am now finding some cells are still working when they shouldn’t but that is another issue), and possibly INFJ, the whole shebang, anyway, stress … and overstimulation

    Then I read something by someone who has Autism and who said she was overstimulated by certain things.

    Then I wondered what the differences between Autism and HSP are, because I had a short epiphany, what if I have Autism ? But quickly brushed that away because I think their condition is different to mine.

    So my question is, have you ever done a little research between Autism and overstimulation and HSP and overstimulation ?

    If you have, what are some clear differences ?

    Hope I didn’t bombard you but I thought maybe you have done some research and I thought asking, I don’t like to say “wouldn’t hurt” but I can’t find a better wording atm lol

    Maybe I’ll type HSP and Austism into google and see what it throws up

    • Maria Hill on April 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Vanessa, here is an article that should help: . It sounds to me like you are simply stressed out and perhaps have been for some time. It seems to me that your health challenges and stress are combining to bring you down.

      Ayurveda is the best health system for managing stress that I have found. This is a general article about Ayurveda and stress:

      I use the website, Lifespa and recommend them. Dr. John Douillard is masterful at connecting science and Ayurvedic medicine so that you become empowered about your health. This is his article about stress – it is a little technical but you might find it helpful. . This is an excellent article about herbs for stress all of which I have used. .

      I hope this helps!

  2. jessica perry on April 8, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I think a more developed response to the child-rearing piece would be nice. What is the relationship between guilt and empathy? At some level, don’t you have to get a kid to see that taking the other kid’s toy was a dick move? Does that HAVE to involve guilt? If we say it just involves empathy, is that just semantics? Do these dynamics continue in adulthood? Isn’t there some bad feeling we SHOULD have when we flake out on people? Is there bad guilt and good guilt? Is there something short of guilt that covers these situations?

    • Maria Hill on April 8, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks, Jessica for your thoughts!