Guilt can develop to any individual regardless of age and status. It occurs when you cross your boundaries that go against your beliefs and values. It can create emotions of overthinking, anxiety, and even depression. Guilt is something that we all may encounter at any point in our lives, whether we are old, young, or in our teens. Guilt comes in many forms, the guilt of not living life to its max, the guilt of hurting somebody, the guilt of unintentionally being jealous of someone.
Whatever the situation may be, it is a tremendous burden to feel guilty, especially when you cannot even change the circumstances that led to it.
On the other hand, guilt is a sign of being a sensitive human being. It forces you to re-think your behavior and ensures you do not do the same mistake twice.
Is it possible to deal with guilt? Can you get over it even if you have tried your best? What do you need to do? In this article, we cover 6 tips on how to survive the feeling of bearing guilt.
UNDERSTAND YOUR GUILT
Guilt is an emotion that makes us rethink the events that lead to it. It makes us reassess that we are not a better person and that we have done something wrong. If you do not change yourself for the better, after you have felt guilty for doing something, it will mentally drain you of your energy and happiness.
When we hurt someone, intentionally or unintentionally, it causes a great deal of mental distress. If you feel guilty for a lot of reasons, then note them all down in a paper. While you have the pen at your hand, you can accurately point out the things bothering you. Sit for at least 20mins and write down all the reasons and causes of you feeling this way.
Causes: I broke up with my partner
Reason: Because I no longer love him/her.
Causes: I cheated on my friend
Reason: I didn’t mean too, it just happened.
This will create a mental picture of what you need to do next. Do not discard the feeling away, this will only haunt down you in the future. It’s better to face it now and discipline yourself to realize the mistakes or faults you made. After pointing out the primary causes and faults, the next step is acceptance.
ACCEPTANCE AND FORGIVENESS
Acceptance includes acknowledging your faults and taking responsibility for it. After you note down all the causes and reasons, the next move includes making up for it. This depends on the situation and the person you are dealing with. Taking up bold actions such as apologizing or asking the person how you can make up to their disappointment is the key to fixing things up.
If it is someone that passed away or out of reach, then the best you can do is forgive yourself. You know the saying, “Forgive then Forget”. Am sure you probably can not forgive yourself for whatever horrible act you did, but you know that’s the only way around. Forgiving means you are promising yourself not to do the same thing twice, being responsible for your actions, and being aware and cautious of your behavior.
Once you have established the mindset to trust yourself, then only can you implement forgiving yourself. You are ensuring yourself to be mature for every decision you will take onwards. Taking such a decision is a huge challenge in which you are willing to pay for.
So consider forgiving yourself as a stepping stone into becoming a better person. That’s when you know you will make decisions and choices that you will never regret.
DO NOT PUNISH YOUR SELF
Sometimes when you fall into guilt, it can eat you up and hence take over your mental state. This is a natural reaction called self-hate, it is when the guilt blames you for everything you have done. This will continue to lower your self-esteem and infuse negativity and failures into your mind, thus effecting your personal lifestyle.
To get out of such a situation, you need to understand first that everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect. Just like everyone makes a mistake, so did you. Now remove all the feelings of self-blame and fill it with hope and acceptance.
Guilt should be used as an opportunity to help yourself grow and flourish instead of as a punishment. Because if you see it as an opportunity, it leaves you in a better place.
Punishing yourself does not lower the guilt feeling, nor does it help to ease the pain away. Instead, go for doing the right things that can help you get over it. Remember that no matter what the problem is, there is always a way to make it up for it.
Are you living up to someone else’s expectations? Are there people around you that taunt and blame you for everything you do?
Being in an environment where people blame you for whatever activity you do should be kept at a distance. Many teens and adults face a lot of guilt because of other’s expectations of them. Therefore, the best thing you can easily do is distance yourself from them. If you can’t then you need to advise them to stop blaming and interfering in your life. Give out a solid statement to let go of your past and strictly instruct them about your responsibility.
For any of this to happen, you need to first empower yourself about being accountable for whatever choices you will make, even if that includes making a mistake on the way. Once you set your own standards and remove the toxic people from your life, that’s when you can see the world in a different view. Many individuals love the habit of self-blaming on other human beings just to satisfy their own importance on you.
Maintain a healthy relationship with parents, family, and friends by showing them how determined you are to make the right decisions. Even if it’s not the right one, it’s all right. As long as you don’t give up and pity yourself on the way. Remember to always keep your head up high.
You can read more about guilt in terms of psychology here.
Talk to friends
What are friends for? To support you and help you at the worst of your times. It’s hard to open up to a friend in order not to judge or make them feel pity for you. However, friends are there for a reason, all the negative thoughts about them thinking worst of you are just up in your head.
Speaking up about your situation can lessen the weight of you and make those friends feel closer and increase the trust of you. That is because you had the courage to open up to them. Likewise, they might even talk about their own guilt and failures to you. You will be surprised by how they will respond and advise you about what to do next. A genuine friend will help and support you all the way. Being able to share and connect will make you feel human and not some horrible person.
So pick up the phone and call that friend or close family!
No Close friends
Here, you can always seek for community groups or use online platforms to join guilt victims’ groups. There are millions of individuals going through the same feeling, and through their experience, you can find comfort. They are there to help individuals facing guilt by speaking it out without the need of disclosing about your whereabouts. They can advise you about how they naturally cope up with it and might even meet up with you in real life. The possibilities are limitless, all it takes is to connect and share your thoughts with someone.
Seek professional help
If you feel that your guilt is more than you can handle, it may be time to talk to a professional. If you cannot resolve your guilt with a victim, you can apologize for past behavior when another person dies. In such situations, psychotherapy is appropriate. Experts can provide training exercises to help clients process their emotions. A therapist can work with a group or family to solve delinquent problems that affect multiple people.
For some people, taking medication may or may not be necessary to regain their happiness and confidence after a situation that has ended with serious guilt. This is something you can discuss with a professional therapist if this is the right path for you.
The natural reaction the person shows after making a mistake or doing something regretful is guilt. Some may try to avoid guilt by rationalizing or minimizing the harmful effect of their actions on others. More helpful, however, is finding the guilt and, if appropriate, apologizing.
In some cases where guilt is caused by a mental health problem or condition, it is important to seek professional help. Sometimes examining underlying anxiety can reduce strong feelings of guilt or shame. Hence, always seek professional help and do not delay it especially when guilt has a great influence on your mental and personal lifestyle.
Do you have anxiety? Don’t know what to do with it? Read here how to deal with anxiety.