This article will discuss the best 11 ways to deal with guilt. It will show why dealing with guilt can be so difficult at times, and why some people are constantly feeling guilty.
The best 11 ways how to deal with guilt
If you are dealing with guilt, know that there are many ways to cope with it. Let’s discuss what they are.
Accept how you feel
Sometimes it may be difficult to understand that what you are feeling is guilt. You can begin to feel anxious, and have many effects of it on your life, without fully understanding what happened. Digging through your feelings, understanding, and embracing the guilt may be the first step toward dealing with it.
When we are talking about embracing the guilt, it is not that you should assume that you are always guilty, but rather that you look for the root of it, and then try to discover what is the best course of action.
Be careful with negative thoughts
Guilt can often lead you to a negative thought pattern, and even to rumination, which can often be detrimental to your mental health, even leading to depression.
As you feel guilty, try to think of positive ways the guilt can help you, and try to not let the guilt take you over completely. What has happened doesn’t need to define you as a whole, deal with the situation you are guilty of, but don’t be defined by it.
Try to understand the reasons why you feel guilty
Sometimes the event may have already passed, and all is forgiven, but you still feel guilty about it. When that is the case, it is important to examine why this is happening, and what traits in your life are causing you to hold on to guilt that much.
Talking to the people that you went through the situation with may also be a good way to help you clear the air, and maybe let go of the guilt.
Keep in mind it is not all bad
As said before, guilt can sometimes become so intense that it takes over all aspects of your life. This can get to a point where you don’t recognize anything positive about yourself anymore.
When that is the case, making a list of all the positive qualities you have, and all the positive things you have accomplished can help you move past this sense of worthlessness that guilt brings you.
Know it is okay to watch after yourself
Some people, based on their previous experiences in life, may have learned that putting yourself as a priority, or caring for your needs before anyone else’s is a sign of being selfish and something you should feel guilty about.
But know that it is perfectly fine to focus on caring for what you want, and need before caring for other people. It is only if you are fine, that you can care for others. You shouldn’t feel guilty about that.
Ask yourself some difficult questions
Whenever you feel guilty, but you are having a difficult time understanding why this is, it may be important to ask yourself some intimate, and difficult questions.
Asking what caused this guilt, what are you guilty of in the situation, and if you did something wrong, or that it was just perceived as wrong will help you know more about what is making you feel like this.
Aside from that, it may also be important to ask yourself if you feel guilty or if there is someone that is trying to make you feel guilty, so you can set the two apart, and take the proper actions.
As said before, sometimes we can feel guilty because others are putting the blame on us, or because we feel we shouldn’t be the priority in our own lives. Whenever this is the case, try to set boundaries between you, and the people around you, and don’t let their behavior or belief define who you are and what you feel.
Apologize if you think you should
But if after analyzing the situation you realized that you have done something that needs to be fixed, consider apologizing. Saying sorry, showing you care, and that you are willing to fix the situation can go a long way. Even if it all can’t be taken back, knowing you are sorry for what happened can be important to the other person.
Keep your mental health in check
As said before, guilt can often lead us to negative thought patterns, and those can lead to ruminating, and mental illness. If you feel you have been feeling constantly guilty, and that this guilt is taking over your life, it may be time to look for a mental health professional to help you through it.
Understand it is not all in your control
Whenever you feel guilty, you should set apart what can be done, and what can’t in each situation. Knowing what you can control will give you a better perspective on what should be your next move.
Deal with perfectionism
Some of us can be such perfectionists that we often won’t know how to deal with the frustration, and mistakes we can make. And those will surely make you feel overly guilty.
If you feel your guilt is coming from that, you may want to try and put yourself in check. All of us are flawed, and mistakes are bound to happen, so instead of feeling guilty, embrace, and forgive yourself.
Why is it so difficult to deal with the guilt?
Guilt is a common feeling, it can happen whenever you feel you wronged a person, or that you made a mistake. It often is something positive, since it helps you recognize and learn from what you have done. In that sense, guilt can come in handy to help us learn how to live in society.
But to some people, or in some cases, you may feel guilty even when what has happened was beyond your control, or your responsibility. And in even worse cases, feeling guilty can be so toxic that it leads you to not want to change anymore.
In those situations, the person will not only feel guilty for one event, but the guilty will affect their whole sense of self, and make them think they are not worth trying to improve.
This can happen with the guilt you put on yourself or even the one that other people will place on you. When you are constantly moved by guilt, it may mean that you are experiencing toxic guilt.
And even though it is often hard to understand where your guilt is coming from, and manage it, it is still possible to do so, considering the tips that were given above.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the best ways to deal with guilt?
How can I deal with regret?
If you are regretting something, the first thing to do is to embrace this feeling. It is important to look at regret as more than a negative feeling, it is also something that is showing you that you acted differently from your core values.
But try to keep in mind that there is a difference between feeling this regret, and shame. While the first one gives you the possibility of dealing with things, shame usually just means you are under a big load of feelings, and that it is difficult to move on from.
Owning up to your mistakes is the next thing you should do, and sometimes that includes apologizing to the people you have done wrong. So after you have done that, it is time to work on forgiving yourself. To do so, try to visualize how it would feel to forgive yourself and write them how you would apologize to yourself.
You should always keep in mind that the mistake doesn’t define you and that there is always a chance for you to learn from them.
Why is it so difficult to forgive others?
Some people may have a harder time than others in forgiving people, and this can often be related to evolution. It may seem strange, but we will usually have trouble forgiving because evolution has given us the psychological motivation to avoid being taken advantage of.
So whenever we are in a situation that we feel we should forgive, we will try to understand if it is something we have done wrong, or if it is a situation that this person is trying to take advantage of us making us feel guilty.
How can I forgive someone that hurt me?
To forgive others the first thing you may need to work on is understanding that other people are different from you, so they may not always have the same notion as you do that what they did was wrong.
When you are dealing with a problem, try to let go of the notion that you should always be right, or that you should punish the other person for what they did.
Know that being angry to try and keep control of the other person is also not healthy, and have in mind that forgiving can be a lot less hard on you than feeling angry.
So after you have come to that conclusion, it is time for you to talk to the other person about what happened, as you do so, always have in mind why you are forgiving them and that you are ultimately doing so for your benefit.
This means that you recognize that the person has hurt you, but that you are not willing to be controlled by this pain, and that this will help you build boundaries against people that want to harm you.
Why is it so difficult to let go of things?
Letting go of things, and people, like a romantic relationship, can be hard at times because as you let go of that period of your life, it can feel like you are letting go of a part of yourself.
As you let go of a relationship, for example, you may feel like you are not only letting go of that person you were with but also of who you were in that period in which the two of you were together.
What are things to never forgive in a relationship?
Although each relationship is different, and people may deal with it in their way, lying may be something that would be unforgivable in a relationship. You should also never tolerate dealing with physical, or emotional abuse or someone that has cheated on you and shows no remorse about it.
Aside from that, you should never forgive someone that doesn’t own up to their responsibilities, that is overly jealous, and who displays behaviors that are trying to control you.
This article discussed the best 11 ways to deal with guilt. It explained why sometimes it can be difficult to deal with guilt, and why, for some people, feeling guilty constantly is common.
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