Feeling Guilty About Success
During a conversation with a high achieving, rapidly successful colleague, she shared that she feels guilty for all of her achievements. She feels thankful, grateful and blessed, but has this sneaking suspicion that she doesn't deserve to be experiencing her current level of prosperity. Oh the irony...
While guilt is an emotion that helps us consider the needs of others, it isn't always helpful. If this colleague had done something that hurt someone or was in some way immoral or unethical, then guilt would be an appropriate response. Since she hadn't done anything like that, her guilt was probably coming from somewhere else. It could be that she assumes success should be harder to achieve than it has been for her, or she is trying to distract herself from something else, or she doesn't feel worthy enough.
Guilt is healthy response when we've goofed. We can use guilt as a red flag that something needs our attention. Getting curious about our guilt can help us uncover what might be broiling just under the surface.