Yes, wilt. And yes, I made that word up. It’s a combination of the words ‘worry’ and ‘guilt’. I’ve blended these two words because I view guilt and worry as the same emotion except for one key difference; one relates to the future and the other relates to the past. Other than that, the two emotions are the same and equally useless.
That the blending of these two words results in the word wilt is just perfect. The dictionary gives one of the definitions of the word wilt as:
To lose strength, vigor, assurance, etc;
Spend excessive amounts of time in guilt or worry and you will lose strength and assurance. Doing wilt takes up a lot of energy. Ask yourself: How much extra energy and time would I have if I didn’t spend energy and time on guilt/worry?
To further define guilt/worry, it is the emotion that follows the initial warning. The first thought you have about something unfavourable that may happen in the future is the initial warning. Thoughts after the initial warning are what we would tend to classify as worry.
The first thoughts you have about something you did in the past that you believe you could have done better is your warning about the past (i.e. your lesson). Guilt is what we would label continued thoughts about the past event after the lesson.
The initial warning or lesson is very useful. It’s the message you’re sending to yourself about taking action to do something in the future. Perhaps have an actual conversation with the person that your concern about the past is associated with. You’ll likely then find out if they also believe you were in the wrong and therefore what needs to happen to correct past actions. Perhaps you need to explore whether your view of what happened in the past is a realistic one or if you’re simply in the habit of beating yourself up. Perhaps you simply need to learn how to find the courage to do something differently… and then take action.
Whatever the required change is, one thing is certain, doing guilt doesn’t change anything except diminish your energy levels, waste your time, and buy you the false perception that you’re doing something. If you want real change, you need to take action. (Special note: even one small change is better than guilt nothingness).
Same goes for worry. The initial concerning thought you have about an event that could happen in the future is useful. It is your signal to do something; perhaps some self-reflection or coaching to determine if your perception about the future is a realistic one (if not, then adopt a more realistic expectation), or it is your signal to have a conversation with someone who can actually assist you with the concern, or it is your signal do something differently.
Whatever the require change is, one thing is certain, worry won’t change anything except diminish your energy levels, use up your time, and give you the false perception that you are doing something already and therefore don’t need to take any real action.
If you do want to take action on a concern about the past or the future but it’s not possible or practical to do that now, then park the issue and get on with something productive in your life Don’t waste your time and energy on an issue that you can’t actually do anything about right now.
The problem for lots of people is that taking an action and doing something differently is perceived as scary. That’s okay. Courage to take action doesn’t happen after fear goes away. Courage is feeling the fear and moving ahead anyway.
Doing something new, or having a difficult conversation, or [insert your fear here] is scary. A scarier thought is getting to the end of your life and realising you spent way to much of it doing wilt.
Any of the actions you been thinking of taking but doing wilt instead… Talk at least one step towards that today.