Ways to Overcome Feeling Guilty

Feb 07, 2019

Guilt is a common feeling that we all experience at some point in our lives. Feeling of guilt usually arises when we do something against our values and beliefs. It can be healthy or unhealthy to have such feelings depending upon how it affects us. If feeling of guilt motivates us to become a better version of ourselves, it is healthy and if it leads us to a downward spiral, making us a negative person, then it is unhealthy.

Feelings of guilt can also trigger us to question our self-worth. For example, people who over indulge in food, often put on a lot of weight, leading them to view themselves as physically unattractive. They view themselves as less worthy or not good enough. Here the guilt co-exists with a negative body image. Take another example, if a person believes that she has done something morally incorrect, then she starts viewing herself as a bad person, thus triggering a guilt of not being able to live up to her moral scale.

If you are prone to feeling negative in an unhealthy manner, then remember that it takes a lot of practice and re-thinking to change this patter of negative indulgence. Read the points below and try and overcome this unhealthy habit:

  1. Find Evidence: If you feel guilty that you did not do enough in a given situation, the first step is to forgive yourself. Then make a list of things that you believe that you could have done at the time. If there is still time to do them, then go ahead. In case it has passed then take it as a lesson and remember that there is always a next time.

  2. Self-Appreciation: Maintain a self-appreciation journal. At the end of each day, write at least three things you did that day that were good and helped you progress towards your goals or help someone. By the end of the week, read the journal. This will give you a sense of achievement and progress which will prevent you from indulging in the feeling of guilt and help you focus on your accomplishments.

  3. Try to See Things If the Roles were Reversed: We often find it easier to be compassionate and understanding with others, but are too tough on ourselves. By taking the other person's perspective, you’ll likely see your situation in a more objective light.

  4. Stop Thinking Black and White: Try to find the grey between all that black and white. Consider other ways of seeing the situation. Try to judge yourself and your efforts in context, rather than always expecting perfection.

  5. Self-Preservation: It is ok to take care of your own needs first as long as you are not harming another person in doing so.

  6. Look for Other Emotions Underneath All that Guilt: Take out time and self-introspect to make sure that your guilt is not a way of masking other feelings like anger, intimidation or resentment.

  7. Apologize when Needed: If you believe that you have wronged someone, instead of feeling guilty about it and beating yourself down, first forgive yourself. Then go and apologize to the person whose forgiveness you desire. Remember, it’s never too late to apologize. Even if the other person does not forgive you, you will end up forgiving yourself in the

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