“Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal.”
Whether or not you think you actually ‘deserve’ the guilt you carry inside you, it’s never a healthy emotion to hold onto in your life. Guilt usually surfaces when you refuse to accept the fact that every member of the human family makes mistakes and we all have to deal with certain failures.
Guilt is not always bad
Guilt can be a great motivator for you to correct something in your life that needs to be fixed, and once you have found a way of resolving the issue, you can begin to feel more at peace.
However, in some cases there will be still be unresolved guilt lurking. This is when the emotion can be consuming and you will need to seek ways of dealing with this negative emotion.
Once you learn how to properly release these harmful emotions, you will feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
Why do you feel guilty?
When you want to free yourself from guilt, you first need to identify the reason why you feel the way you do.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of guilt:
• You are not accepted by others or think the thoughts you are having are wrong
• You feel responsible for something bad that has happened to you or someone you know
• You feel obligated to do something for someone for the wrong reason
• You failed to do something or say something to someone and now you will never get the chance.
I’m sure there are other reasons besides these for why you or someone else might feel guilty about something.
Resolving your guilt
Once you have identified the reasons why you feel guilty, it is time to come to terms with the situation. If you continue spinning in a cycle of guilt, it won’t be helping anyone, especially not you.
Here are some tips that can help you resolve your guilt:
1. Leave the past in the past.
If you have done something wrong, you must come to the realization that you can’t change the past. Do what you can do to make amends, learn from the situation, and then move on. That is all you can do!
2. Fix the problem.
If you can fix the problem that is making you feel guilty, by all means, fix it as soon as possible. Beyond this, feeling guilty does not serve any purpose. Do what you can to overcome the situation and then release your guilty conscience.
3. Try not to be too hard on yourself.
This may be easier said than done but you need to adjust your expectations to make them more realistic. If you have really given the situation your best shot and there is nothing else you can do, give yourself a break! You tried!
4. Talk to others about the problem.
Perhaps a trusted friend has been through a similar situation. If so, ask them about how they handled the situation and how you can make things better.
5. Forgive yourself.
It is in our very, all too human, nature, to make mistakes. after all, no one is perfect. Make a conscious effort to forgive yourself and your guilt will be released.
Decide for yourself
There are many people who may try to bring you down and make you feel unnecessarily guilty. Some of these people may even be close to you. Make the conscious decision to disallow this kind of behaviour. Strive for the confidence and awareness to prevent others from forcing guilty feelings onto you. This is a choice you can make!
Feeling guilty all the time is unhealthy, both physically and mentally. Use these strategies to help you release your guilt and enjoy your life!
Recommended: Self-awareness: 8 Steps to Improve Yours