How To Deal With Guilt

Dealing with guilt is a very common activity for us, bad but common. Many people have experienced a lot of situations in which they felt good, but the after effect was a bad one. How many times haven’t you said: I would like a lot to fell good! This time is my turn to feel good! And you crossed the limit that moment… what limit? The limit the other has for the way he feels. Practically, in that moment you said “I don’t care about you” and you chose to feel good even if that meant you had to step over someone’s feelings. In that situation, you may have felt good but only after your conscience pulled your hand and woke you up to see what you’ve done. Ugly feeling!

So we did something terrible that we don’t want to remember in any way and we prefer not talking about it. Even if we don’t talk about that, the thoughts of guilt seem to run through our mind. For example, even if you liked what you did in that moment, hurting a loved one or doing something you shouldn’t have done will make you unable to forgive yourself. That thought will haunt your life for a while depending on how much harm you’ve done.

How does guilt work?

It’s amazing how the feeling of guilt can turn your life around when you start to feel it. It usually appears when we reach a certain maturity level and we start to accept our flaws and faults. Reaching this stage makes you develop a better side of you and it also has a positive influence on the people you are linked to.

Well, the deed has been done and it can’t be taken back, but there are ways for you to choose to make it right: you can ask for forgiveness. Asking someone for forgiveness is the first step to lose the guilt, but the next step is more difficult: forgive yourself. Guilt and regret are two of the most intense negative feelings and sometimes they can even throw people into depression because they can’t forgive themselves.

How to deal with guilt?

The best way to deal with grief is to think of ways to correct the wrong you’ve done, instead of crying over it. Try to think of the wrong you did and how will you prevent that from happening again.
You already did a few steps in getting over the guilt and regret, you’ve taken responsibility for you future actions and for the past actions. Even if you’ve accepted your mistakes it will take time for those feelings to leave you.

If you have hurt someone then it’s your duty to compensate for the harm you caused. You will face a lot of difficulties, but this way you will learn how to deal with problems, you will learn how to correct your mistakes.

Careful though, people tend to blackmail us through feelings. Try to make the difference between something wrong you did and something the other thinks he deserves and “you’re very bad, because you don’t do that for me”. For instance, if you’re feeling guilty because you decided it is more important to relax with at home than to have a walk with your friend who’s always in a crisis, that means you’re learning to set limits and take time for yourself. In cases like this, have the confidence to admit that you made the right choice. Sometimes we also have to learn how to express our feelings and needs.

I’m pretty sure you can find at least one situation in which you felt guilty even you shouldn’t have. If you can’t find any let give a hint: mothers have the habit of making their children feel guilty for certain reasons. Some make that with no intention other with any intention what so ever.

Be careful in what you see wrong. Every person has different ways of seeing things and different ways of understanding things; you shouldn’t feel responsible for someone’s actions or interpretations; it’s advisable to clarify what you should feel guilty about or if you should feel guilty at all. An excellent way to explore that is to ask yourself how you would see the situation if one of your closest friends would be in your shoes. Would you think your friend should feel guilty about his behavior?

Remember: the goal is to learn from mistakes!

About Iris Lulea

Psychologist specialized in Family, Couple and Children Therapy at S.P.E.R.