Guilt is a terrible emotion to live with, particularly if it is intense, growing and living with you every day. Although some guilt in certain situations is natural and at times, healthy, when guilt starts to interfere with your daily life and usual routine, there is a serious problem. Most people often feel guilty about a situation in which they feel they could have prevented something happening, or where they deeply regret their decisions/actions. At other times, people may feel guilty about the decisions and actions of others, such as family members and close friends.
It is important to remember that the actions of others are never your fault – though you may influence somebody’s way of thinking and their state of mind, in the end it is them who makes their own decision. And while you most definitely are responsible for your own actions, remember that forgiveness can be earned, trust renewed and wounds healed. Mistakes are there to be learned from. If you’re ready to deal with this issue, read on.
- Try to figure out why you feel guilty. Grab a pen and notebook, and write down a list of things that could be making you feel this way. It might be difficult, but eventually you will figure out what is making you guilty. If you can’t figure it out, try this approach: Consider each thing on your list and imagine if you had not done it. If you immediately feel better or wistful, this is probably the thing which is making you guilty.
- Rate your guilt. This might sound stupid, but it can really help. Out of ten, make two ratings: How bad the thing is that you’ve done, and how guilty you feel. After this, think about why what you did was bad, and why you feel guilty about it. This should hopefully leave your mind a little clearer.
- Consider what you are going to do. If the guilt you feel is over something like being nasty to someone or neglecting a job or pet, feel reassured in the fact that you can do something about this. Write down what you’re going to do, consider when and where, and take action. If your guilt is for something like a persons’ death or a friend getting angry, acknowledge that it is not your fault, and it’s natural to feel this way. Do something to relax and forget about it.
- Once you get a better idea of why you feel guilty, don’t run from it. If needed, you may seek help from friends you trust, or even professionals to shed some light on your situation. Chances are unless you have committed a serious crime you may have nothing to feel guilty about. In fact you may find out that someone else has been feeding you lies.
- Learn to forgive the person that hurt you or forgive yourself for the pain you have been holding on to. It’s the only way out.
- Everyone messes up sometimes. If the person that you committed the wrong to is your friend, they will forgive you in time.
- Stop beating yourself up! It’s not necessarily your fault if something happens.
- Sometimes you may just have a lot of anger built up inside you. Do something to release your anger.
- This will take time, and it will hurt a lot, but in the long run it will be so much better.
- Holding it in will constantly bother you. The best thing to do is to tell someone about it.
- Be careful who you share your discovery with. They may make it worse.