Guilt can be a heavy burden to carry, and it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-blame and negative thoughts. Feelings of guilt are distressing and draining. There doesn’t seem to be a cure. You’ve done or said something you regret. You’re uncomfortable without an obvious solution. What can be done about it now? Great questions. What can be done is to let go of guilt and start feeling better about yourself
So how do you get passed the guilt?
- Determine if you should feel guilty. Whose standards are you using? Social media? Your parents’? Your own? Your church’s? Then consider this, is the source correct? Be sure that you’re judging yourself by a set of standards you view worthy. It’s your choice.
- Accept that you feel guilty. Acknowledge your feelings and the pain that goes with them. Feelings are meant to be felt. Accept that you made a mistake.
- Learn from it. Why do you feel guilty? What’s the emotion trying to tell you about you? Obviously, you did or said something that you consider to be wrong. Once you know why you feel guilty, you’re in a position to make it work for you by making sure you don’t repeat the behavior in the future.
- Apologize. It can be as simple as saying you’re sorry. It’s help to acknowledge what you did, and how you change in the future. You’ll feel better afterward, even if your apology is rejected.
- Forgive yourself. Even if the other person doesn’t forgive you, you can forgive yourself. Be kind and gentle with yourself. No one is perfect.
- Let it go. Once the event is over, you’ve apologized and modified your behavior, let it go. At that point, what purpose does the guilt serve? Take a deep breath, let it out, and move on. Keep your mind occupied with more productive thoughts.
- Have gratitude. This is a game changer. Rather than saying to yourself, “I should have told Mary the truth,” tell yourself, “I’m grateful I’ve learned the importance of honesty.” Negative experiences can still be worthy of gratitude.
Here’s how can you avoid guilt in the future and stay on the path to a better about you.
- Think instead of react. This should be a no brainer, right. Guilt is often the result of acting without thinking. When you become emotional, it can be impossible to think straight. take a moment to collect yourself. It’s easy to do or say something that you’ll later regret.
- Be less critical of yourself. Guilt and the need to be perfect go hand in hand. Avoid expecting perfection. It’s unrealistic, unaobtainable and leads to feelings of guilt. Everyone makes mistakes on a daily basis.
- Create realistic beliefs. Maybe you believe that a good parent should do certain things, but you don’t or can’t do them. Is your opinion on the matter reasonable? Maybe you believe a good parent would never get frustrated, which is unrealistic.
You’re not alone in feeling guilty. Some people spend a lifetime wallowing in guilt. How long you feel guilty is up to you. Learn from your mistakes and go forward with a new perspective and strategy. Apologize and forgive yourself. Then, practice making the choice that doesn’t result in guilt. The more you practice, the more healthy choices you’ll make and the less guilt you’ll have to deal with.