Guilt is a depressing feeling that can make it difficult for you to move forward in life. It can be challenging to understand how to get rid of negative feelings and come to terms with the past. This article will walk you through the process and lead you to a brighter tomorrow.
Try to understand the meaning of guilt. We usually feel guilty if we have done or said something that has hurt others. This type of guilt helps you understand that we are doing something wrong, which is healthy and normal.
For example, if you forget a friend’s birthday, you may feel guilty because people should remember their friends’ birthdays and celebrate them. This is a healthy guilt because it alerts you that you have failed something and it can harm your relationship with that person.
Learn to recognize unproductive feelings of guilt. Sometimes we can feel guilty, even if there is no reason to do so. This type of guilt is unhealthy or unproductive because it leads to nothing. We just feel bad.
Pay special attention to whether guilt makes you focus on your mistakes, which prevents you from celebrating your own success.
For example, if you feel guilty because you had to work on your friend’s birthday and you couldn’t come to her party, it’s unhealthy guilt. If you have a scheduled job and can’t take time off, there’s nothing you can do about it. Your friend should know that you couldn’t come to the party because otherwise you would lose your job.
Find out what makes you feel guilty. If you have feelings of guilt, it is important to determine why you feel guilty and why. When you find out the cause of your guilt and realize why you feel that way, you can determine if it is healthy or unhealthy guilt. In any case, you have to work with these feelings to get rid of them.
If you often struggle with guilt, it could be rooted in your childhood experiences. Try to think about whether they often blamed you for things that went wrong – and then remind yourself that you don’t have to play that role anymore.
Write about your feelings. Writing about your feelings of guilt can help you understand and resolve those feelings. First, try to find a reason why you feel guilty. If it was something you did or told someone, describe in detail what happened. Add a description of how you felt at the time and why you felt that way. Why should you feel guilty?
For example, you can write about why you forgot your friend’s birthday. What happened to keep you busy? How did your friend react? How did you feel?
If necessary, apologize. Once you know if guilt is healthy or unhealthy, you can determine if you need to apologize for your actions. If you forgot someone’s birthday, you should apologize because you failed in something your friends should do.
Your apology should be sincere and you should not make excuses. It is important that you take full responsibility for your behavior and show your friend that you are feeling bad. Say something simple like, “I’m so sorry for _____.”
Think about the situation to prevent it in the future. When you have thought about your guilt, identified its source, and apologized if necessary, you should think about your behavior for a while to avoid it in the future. Thinking about what you did wrong will help you grow personally and you will not repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
For example, if you think about forgetting a friend’s birthday, you may decide that in the future you need to be careful to remember important dates. You can also specify steps to avoid a similar situation in the future.
Get rid of guilt
Turn guilt into gratitude. When you feel guilty, you also have guilty thoughts that are unproductive and give you no solution in the future. Instead, try to turn guilty thoughts into feelings of gratitude.
So, for example, if you forgot your friend’s birthday, you might think, “I should have remembered that she had a birthday yesterday!”
Instead, you can turn guilty statements into positive ones, such as “I’m grateful for the reminder that my friends are important to me and for the chance that I can do them for them in the future.”
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself as you would forgive your friends. This is an important part of the process of learning how to deal with guilt. If you are trying to deal with guilt for actions that others have already asked for forgiveness or that are not in your power, learn to forgive yourself.
One way to get rid of guilt is to forgive yourself whenever you make a mistake, just as you would forgive a good friend.
The next time you start to feel guilty, take a deep breath and stop beating inwardly. Instead, say something like, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t make me a bad person yet.”
Learn from the fictional character Scarlett O’Hare. Think of the quote, “Finally, tomorrow is also a day.” Realize that each day is a new beginning filled with hope and the opportunity to start again. Your actions may be bad, but they should not control your future. Although they have consequences, they do not have control over the rest of your life.
Do a good deed. Helping others will help you. A good deed will not reverse your deeds, but it will help you begin to move forward for a better future. Some studies even show that helping others is good for mental and physical health.
Ask nearby hospitals, charities and other similar organizations if you could help out there as a volunteer. Even if you volunteer only a few hours a week, it can help you overcome feelings of guilt.
Give your life a spiritual dimension. Some beliefs allow you to repent of your sins, which can help you deal with feelings of guilt. Attend religious services or churches close to you, or create your own spiritual practices. Research has shown that spirituality and prayer relieve stress and shorten healing times during illness.
Visit a place where faith is practiced and pray with others.
Try meditation or yoga.
Go outside and admire the beauty of nature.
If you can’t get rid of guilt on your own, see a therapist. For some people, guilt can interfere with daily life and happiness. Without help, it can be difficult to understand guilt and determine how best to deal with it. A professional psychologist or therapist can help you understand these feelings and teach you how to work with them.
If you feel too guilty, it may be part of a mental disorder that requires treatment. When you talk to a therapist, you will understand what you are talking about and you will be able to make the right decision.