Photo of a child sitting on the floor after making a mess with cereal. Text reads, “Guilty. June 06, 2021.”


I said “no” to an invitation and feel a lot of guilt about it. It keeps popping into my head and I feel like I should have said, “yes”, even though I really don’t want to go. 

Can you relate to this story? How about this one; 

I was reactive with my student/child when they wouldn’t listen to me. I asked them to get their shoes on four times and they still weren’t listening, so I yelled at them and said, “if you can’t listen I am going to leave you behind.” I felt AWFUL for saying this, and of course I didn’t mean it. I was just so frustrated. 

A few reminders: 

  1. We can set BOUNDARIES to take care of ourselves, in a kind and respectful way. (We will get to this in a few weeks.)
  2. WE ALL DO THINGS WE REGRET. This is part of life. 
  3. We can let go of guilt and bounce back to feeling ourselves again, without losing sleep. 
  4. We can condition ourselves to be more connected and less reactive with children, in time and with practice. 

For this week, let’s focus on the emotion of GUILT.  Some of us (this used to be ME) hang on to guilt for days and feel guilt for just about everything. This blocks our ability to be resilient, to bounce back to feeling ourselves when we do something we regret, or have to set a boundary (we are allowed to say "no").   

This week is simple. We will recognize our own feelings of guilt and build resilience around it. 



This week’s practice: 

  • Simply notice when you feel guilt.
  • Once you notice the emotion, notice how you respond. Do you;
    • ruminate? 
    • lose sleep? 
    • blame or rationalize? 
    • judge? 
  • When you notice the emotion and your reaction to it, take 3 deep breaths and say to yourself, “I am not alone in feeling this way, many other people also feel this way. I am only human. I forgive myself.”

In the classroom:

  • Notice when students feel badly about something they said or did (likely reactive or triggered). 
  • If the behavior requires a boundary set it.
  • Share the message that they are not bad, that they made a mistake and that we ALL do things we regret sometimes (you could even offer an example of a time you felt reactive). 
  • Humanize their reaction and check in with how they feel. Make a plan for moving forward. 

At home:

  • Model this for the kids in your life, out loud. They will follow your lead, so when you are kind to yourself, they will learn to be kind to themselves. 
  • When you notice something weighing a child down, share the same expression with them. Remind them that whatever it is, it is only human and they are not alone. 

Remember to be gentle with yourself, you are reconditioning your brain's response that has been with you for a lifetime. 


To learn more about letting go of guilt with self-compassion, see the Kind Mind Compass + Cards.

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