What Guilt Has to Do With Embracing Your Authentic Self

Source: Pexels/Thnh Phng

Source: Pexels/Thnh Phng

Has your self-help turned into self-criticism? Read this article featuring the first part of my interview with Danielle LaPorte, author of White Hot Truth.

Are You Free?

“How has your day planner changed and morphed with this revelation?” I ask, hoping she’ll send me a screenshot of her week ahead to verify the transformation.

Instead, she delivers something much sweeter, “There’s an inner-peace now, a calmness, and a feeling of spaciousness. There’s room to be myself. Room for the answers to show up. Room to change my mind. I’m no longer attached to others beliefs. Time has expanded.”

With all that talk of inner-peace—still an ever-elusive concept to me—I wanted to ensure I was getting the real deal. Knowing Danielle was raised Catholic, much like myself, and a working mother, I needed to test out her humanness; make sure she wasn’t this fully enlightened spiritual anomaly, but a legit woman like me who swirls around a shit storm of emotions on the regular. Clearly, it’s not cool to ask someone, “Are you for real? Can I trust that what you’re dishing out is reliable and authentic?” Instead, you gracefully enter a side door and ask about guilt. Why guilt? Because as women, the willingness to openly talk about what doubles us over with guilt is a litmus test for authenticity I’ve found reliable time and again.

“I noticed you mentioned the “G” word earlier, what’s your relationship like with guilt?”

There’s a pause. I notice this pattern in our brief time together. It’s not my sense she desires to give a perfect answer to prop herself up, but more a need to be precise and honest. It takes courage to pause long enough to check in with yourself to offer clarity. 

“It’s always there, but I’ve got it in check. Guilt is part of having a conscience. Guilt is part of being a loving, caring person. When you expand you’re going to bump up against other people. Someone’s feelings are going to get hurt. You’re going to erect some boundaries. It won't be easy. As you choose what’s most loving for yourself you create disharmony which may create some guilt. I feel less and less guilty about the hurt feelings that occur from making healthy choices for myself.”

I snuggled in a little more to her realness. Her truth is also mine. Guilt lives right here inside of us all AND, it doesn’t have to be a current that takes us under.

“Saying no for me is pretty clear. I don’t want to go backward. Saying yes when I mean no leads to exhaustion. There is a very basic equation when determining where to spend my time: Social media or my kid? An extra hour of sleep or a book review? Getting sick or pleasing someone else? Saying no becomes much easier when health is your priority.”

Loving her more with each #truthbomb I secretly wished we were sitting on her deck, instead of me sitting on the floor of my office, criss-cross applesauce. “Danielle, when do you feel most disconnected?”

“When I’m not being feminine. When I shift from being this juicy fluid girl, to being too harsh, abrupt, or abrasive I feel instant regret. I replay the incident over and over in my head sometimes for the next couple of days. Eventually, I let it go and endeavor not to do it again; until the next time.”

We both crack up laughing because this is white hot truth. Screwing up and then making peace with yourself is exactly what it means to be on a spiritual journey. We mess up, get out of alignment, and then, with courage we forgive ourselves, let it go, move on, and then circle around it again, because guess what, we are human and this is our work. The goal, the evolution, perhaps the revolution, is not to spin out for two days forever, maybe you cut it down to two hours, but we get back into alignment with more ease.

“I was recently talking to my shrink about this very situation and how gross it felt. She shared with me that you are becoming more yourself and you step out of that space it’s even more noticeable. You can hardly bear the lie.”

I feel her truth in my bones. My heart whispers, “Mmm. Hmm. Just like me…”

“May I Shine So that Other’s May Shine As Well.”

I asked Danielle to open our conversation with an intention. “May this conversation bear the truth of light that helps other people see their capacity to grow. May everything that comes of this be all about love and clarity. And so it is.”

You can soak up more of Danielle on her website where you’ll also find her book.

Hungry for more?

*Part 1 in this blog series can be found here.

Angie Viets, LCP is an author and clinical psychotherapist in private practice. She specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, body image, and overeating. Angie is dedicated to empowering others to nurture their body, mend their relationship with food, and to embody their most authentic self. Her passion for the field was born out of her own hard-won battle with an eating disorder. She believes that full recovery is possible! Read more.