How To Deal With Guilt Without Ruining Your Life

How to overcome guilt
  1. Recognise the type of guilt you are experiencing. The type of guilt we feel will determine whether what we are feeling is healthy or unhealthy. Healthy guilt should be like a “kick up the pants” we give ourselves so that we can raise our standards and do better next time. An unhealthy feeling of guilt will cause us to be hard on ourselves and even prevent us from doing what we know we should do to correct the situation. Knowing the type of guilt we are experiencing will enable us to take the appropriate action to overcome it.
  2. Visualise what you would liked to have done instead. Allowing ourselves to reflect back on the experience can be valuable because we will be able to see in our mind’s eye what could have been a better way to deal with a situation that has caused us to feel guilty. What this does is its gives us an opportunity to deal with a similar situation in the future better and with more confidence. The key here is not to beat ourselves up and go into blame and regret mode.
  3. Correct the situation as quickly as possible. This is a big step because the best way to quickly deal with guilt is to address the situation with the person concerned and communicate what is going on for us. This should not be used as an opportunity to pass blame or judgement, instead it should be used as the forum to “clear the air” and agree on how to move forward. In order to do this well, we must be willing to be vulnerable, take responsibility and apologise if necessary.
  4. Accept your part in the experience and let it go. We all make mistakes and we will continue to make mistakes. If we are not making mistakes, it means we are not challenging ourselves enough to grow. When we do make mistakes, we must take responsibility for our part in the situation but it is also important not to dwell on what we did wrong for too long. One of the most valuable things we can do is acknowledge what we did wrong and be okay with letting it go, and make a commitment to do better next time.
  5. Focus on the lessons you have learned from the experience. Every experience, good, bad or indifferent, can teach us valuable lessons if we’re willing to look for them. We will always find lessons if we allow ourselves to acknowledge how we would have liked the situation to play out and what we could have done better. The lessons we learn will make us stronger, reaffirm what standards we want to hold ourselves to and improve the relationships that may be affected.

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Neel Raman

Neel Raman


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