It’s a really fascinating thing about Self-Esteem. If you get it from approval and success, you will never feel complete.
In other words there may be areas in which it is high, but there will also be areas in which it is low.
Extremely successful people have areas of very low Self-Esteem. Over the years I’ve watched this in high profile business people, sports people and the Hollywood brigade.
They look powerful and confident as long as they’re talking about their success and then if you push a button which evokes a sense of their inadequacy in an area where they are struggling in their lives, the Self-Esteem disappears, like mist in the sun.
Anger Follows Guilt
Low Self-Esteem is usually accompanied by guilt because if you feel worthless you’re going to find ways in which to judge yourself for not being okay.
What’s really interesting about guilt is that it is almost always followed by anger.
They are two sides of the same coin.
Let me illustrate.
You’re driving home from a business cocktail party and you’re late and your battery died and you haven’t contacted your partner who is now worried about you. As you’re driving you have this dialogue in your head which goes, “I’m so sorry I’m late Sweetie but my battery died” (guilt) and then you picture them getting angry with you saying, “You could’ve borrowed someone else’s phone” and that’s when your guilt turns to anger and you say, “but you do the same thing to me!”
The reason why guilt creates anger is that we don’t like feeling bad and although we’ve created this feeling of “I’m bad” we then need to aggressively protect ourselves from the criticism that is coming to us externally. For most people the best form of protection is attack.
Parents like to create guilt in their kids. “You haven’t done your homework, tidied your room, you’re dating a bad guy, etc”
Guilt is designed to manipulate the kid. It might create compliance but the anger is going to fuel the rebel!!!
You might also notice that if you spend a great deal of time rejecting and judging yourself, the only way to survive this pain is to be angry with the rest of the world, which leads to guilt for being so judgemental, which leads to further anger and judgement internally.
It’s a vicious and insidious cycle into hell.
Furthermore, if you feel guilty about how you are performing in your work, you will get more and more angry at the company for all of the ways in which they are treating you badly.
You might be wondering, how is this information useful?
First up, if you have this awareness, then just watch how your guilt starts leading to anger and judgements of others. When you do this, you can contain the anger to prevent unnecessary conflict.
You can also take responsibility for the fact that you have created the guilt and then you can deal more effectively with the other person’s anger.
Guilt Blocks Joy
Photo by Senjuti Kundu
You can also start loving yourself so as to reduce the feelings of guilt. Guilt can be highly destructive. It drains our energy, it blocks our natural joy and love of life. It creates depression and a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
What’s also really interesting is that the anger masks but doesn’t heal the guilt, so when we get angry, we now don’t have to love the guilt away, it just gets suppressed. If you suppress your sense of not being okay, how can you heal it?
Another really interesting thing about this issue is that we often want other people to feel guilty, as per the parent-kid issue above. The guilt we evoke in others about some perceived wrongdoing, appeases our self-righteousness. If they feel ‘bad’ then they are ‘wrong’ and we feel ‘good’ and ‘right’.
People want more peace in their relationships and in the world. There is not going to be any peace if our guilt is creating anger everywhere.
If you would like to work one on one or via Skype with these issues, drop me a mail at email@example.com.