Time to read: less than one minute, guilt-free
Let's talk about guilt. Here's what I mean:
You exchange texts with an old colleague and say, "Let's have coffee soon." Then you never do.
Your mother is in a nursing home. You feel you should visit more often. You don't.
You promise to make networking introductions for a college friend who is job hunting. You "forget."
Here's the kicker. Guilt isn't real. It's what's known as a "false emotion." You throw guilt up in front of true emotion to feel like you're taking action while you are actually avoiding. Let's look at the above examples through this lens to uncover the real emotions.
The old colleague: If you really wanted to hang out with this person, you'd make it a priority. Instead of guilt, feel sad that you don't choose to make this person a priority. Then, own your choice and let it go.
Your mother: The real emotion here is regret and sadness. It may be grief over the loss of your mother (if she's lost to Alzheimers, for example) or sadness that you don't have the kind of relationship with your mother that makes you want to visit her more often. Or maybe, it's fear about losing her. Rather than false guilt, give yourself permission to feel your actual sadness or fear.
The job hunter: If you're not motivated to help, there's a good chance you said yes to something when you wanted to say no. Maybe you're frustrated by your lack of boundaries and embarrassed that you want to get out of this commitment. You are avoiding the fact that you are out of integrity with yourself and the other person. Instead of hiding behind guilt, take responsibility for your decision and let the person know you're sorry and you can't make the introductions after all.
Guilt is a waste of your time. Instead, put that energy into feeling your real feelings and take ownership of the truth. You'll feel a lot better.
I hope this helps!