Do you feel guilty for something that you did or even something that you didn’t do? As you live your life, there will be things that you regret. Everyone has made mistakes and when you do, this is a time of growth and understanding your life.
The problem is that with these mistakes comes the feelings of guilt. You might have this guilt that comes with knowledge of hurting someone or dealing with the memories and the judgement that you put on yourself.
Guilt is an emotion that can control you. It can make you see the actions that you have done, and it can also help you to motivate yourself to do better. If you have never been able to deal with something that you did wrong, guilt might be holding you back.
Even though having guilt can cause you to make some positive changes, if you let it, it can also hold you back and keep you from becoming better. Here are some ways that you can face your guilt and move forward:
You have to say what you are feeling guilty about if you ever want to improve. Even if you are ashamed of what you did, admit it, and say it. Hiding the guilt will not work as a permanent fix and if you want to get over guilt you have to address it.
Here are some things to try:
- Take time for yourself.
- Get in a quiet place.
- Keep a journal of your feelings and thoughts.
- Write, “I feel guilty because,” and then name it.
- Let out the guilt, anger and other emotions that come with how you are feeling.
- Allow the feelings to manifest in you for a moment and then be mindful to let these emotions go.
Even the emotions that are hard need to be let go.
Kinds of Guilt
Here are some of the different kinds of guilt that people feel:
- Natural: This is guilt that you have after you did something that was wrong like broke a promise or put someone down. This guilt is guilt that will go away after a solution such as apologizing.
- Chronic: This is guilt that comes after you have been stressed for a while. It controls your emotions and can lead to burnout. This can come with depression.
- Collective: Collective guilt happens when you are responsible for something that you did. You might feel guilty that there is homeless people in y our area. This kind of guilt is hard to get rid of because there are problems that stop you from being able to solve this.
- Survivor: This is guilt that happens when you have survived something that someone else didn’t. It can make you feel sad or make you feel bad that you are alive.
Where Did it Come From?
You need to figure out where your guilt has come from. If you have made a mistake, admit that you did. If you feel guilty for something you can’t control, know that you cannot be in control of everything.
Sometimes people feel guilty over things that they didn’t do wrong. If you broke up with your boyfriend because they were mean to you, you should not feel guilty about this.
Guilt can come from feelings of failure or from not being able to meet the expectations that others set for you. This sometimes happens when you aren’t able to reach your goals.
Here are some reasons people feel guilty:
- For surviving when someone else didn’t.
- When you face conflict over choices you made.
- When there are physical and mental health problems.
- Having thoughts, you don’t think you should have.
- When you take care of your own needs instead of focusing on other people.
Guilt can come in different ways, and it can come when you feel that you are responsible for something that happened or even if you have made a mistake.
Guilt isn’t the same as shame because shame is when you didn’t meet an expectation. Guilt and shame can go hand in hand though. Here are some signs that show you feel guilty:
• When you are responsible for your actions.
• When you want to fix a problem.
• Having low self-esteem.
• Being critical of yourself.
• Downplaying something that happened.
• Being defensive.
• Having negative feelings about your character.
• Muscle spasms.
• Not sleeping well.
• Stomach issues.
• Touching my neck.
Here are some ways you can fix your feelings of guilt:
Say You’re Sorry
Apologizing if you did something to someone can help you to no longer feel regret and guilty. If you hurt someone, tell them you made a mistake and fix it. You might not get forgiven but you are on the right track anyways.
Apologizing can help you to heal and it can help you to feel better after you have messed up. Make sure that you are acknowledging what you did, being remorseful, not making up excuses for your actions and asking the person to forgive you.
When you agree to make amends, it means that you are going to change. If you feel guilty for not spending time with someone then you need to apologize and then start doing better. You don’t always have to apologize face to face, and you can choose to write a letter or send a text.
You might even need to apologize for yourself on how you treated and talked to yourself. Be kind and stop playing the blame game.
Let the Past Teach You
You can’t fix everything but there are some mistakes that you have made that you might feel guilty of. Guilt and sadness can cause you to feel that you are in a box that you can’t get out of.
Accept the things that you have done and know that you can’t change these things. Figure out why you made the mistake in the first place, what you would do differently and how your actions made a way to fix these problems.
You should be thankful for things that have been good in your life. Make sure that you are making changes and you are showing up for people that you should be there for. Life is not meant to be a place of loneliness, and you need to embrace your love and not guilt.
Show gratefulness by:
- Thanking people for loving you and being kind to you.
- Showing you appreciate people and things.
- Know that there are opportunities that you had because of the support of others.
- Commit to supporting others in the future.
Be Compassionate to Yourself
Instead of feeling negative and guilty, start having compassion for yourself. Even though you messed up, you are on the right track to fixing things. Don’t punish yourself for the things that you did.
Instead of feeling ashamed, figure out how you can do better and make up for the things that you did wrong. You deserve the same kindness that you have shown others. Know that you are worth forgiving and get past your emotional distress.
Guilt Can Help You
Guilt can help you to do better in your life. This will help you to live a better life and to see things inside of yourself that you don’t love. This can help you to take action to address these things and to bring on positive change.
When guilt talks to you, listen to it and focus on how not to make the same mistakes over and over again. If you feel bad about things you can’t control, talk to someone that is a professional and can help you.
You have to forgive yourself. Here is how:
- Take responsibility for what you did.
- Have remorse.
- Have regret.
- Don’t become shameful.
- Accept yourself and be better in the future.
Talk to Others
Find people that you can talk to about what you are feeling. Don’t isolate yourself because you have messed up but face this and let other people support and love you.
Your family and friends can help you to get past guilt and if they can’t, talk to a professional. A therapist can help you to work through things like:
• Bad thoughts.
It can be hard to tell people about your guilty feelings but if you don’t handle the guilt, it can ruin your relationships and cause you to have mental health issues. You have to learn to cope in a healthy way so that you don’t end up with addictive behaviors.
Guilt is something that we all have but you have to learn to put it in the past. You can let go of your guilt and become more confident in yourself.
If you have trouble with guilt, you aren’t alone and you can find someone that can speak to you and help you through these hard times.