Guilt can affect the best of us when something goes wrong. We’re not here to judge – instead, we’re here to help, and if you’ve got something eating away at you, we hope to assist in putting that right. These tips won’t change much in terms of what makes you feel guilty, but they should be just what you need to stop feeling so bad about whatever has happened. So, without further ado, let’s get on to the tips and techniques that can get any guilty feelings in check.
1. Don’t Feel Like You Have to Punish Yourself
While it might seem like the correct course of action at the time, you’ll solve nothing if you attempt to punish yourself for whatever went down. You might be all for an eye for an eye and that kind of retribution, but taking out your frustrations, guilt and anger on yourself won’t help anyone.
Instead, focus on taking your mistake as a learning opportunity and making a point of learning from it. Guilt is an incredibly strong emotion and not something to brush aside. However, if you can remember how whatever you did makes you feel going forward, that’s something to draw upon whenever you risk making the same kind of mistake going forward.
2. Focus on Forgiveness
Following on from the first tip, the best way to get over the guilt, in terms of what you have full control over, is to forgive yourself. Naturally, it also helps if the person responsible for the guilt forgives you too, but that might take time – and longer than you’re happy to feel like this for.
Crucially, something that often prevents people from forgiving themselves for whatever it is that they have done is that you can still accept something was your fault and accept the guilt, but forgive yourself for it. Much like stress, guilt is a negative emotion that changes little and there is a difference between taking the blame and dragging things down further by feeling guilty about it.
3. You Can Only Make Up for What Happened, Not Change It
Another reason why people dwell on guilt is that they spend too much time wishing they could travel back in time and change what happened. The fact is, unless you know something the rest of the world doesn’t, you cannot change the past. You already know that your feelings will pass over time as it is bound to have happened before. While easier said than done, you should endeavour to accelerate the process as those feelings you currently have aren’t necessarily getting you anywhere useful.
4. Get Help if You Need It
The fact is that some negative emotions are more difficult to shake than others, and it is not a sign of weakness if you feel you need help to get over how you think. This can be particularly useful if you believe that there’s no chance of reconciling with the other party in your guilty feelings. A counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist could all be the right way to work through your feelings, but the decision on what you need and when has to be down to you and is best decided upon at a time of clear thinking.
5. Keep a Journal While Experiencing Guilt
We’re not always big fans of journals and record-keeping outside the right circumstances, but feelings of guilt can be the right time to do so. You’ll notice that you don’t always feel as bad as you sometimes do and it’s worth keeping notes of what has a good chance of making you feel better. If and when you feel down, you can refer back to that journal for inspiration in feeling better as and when you need to.
6. Nobody’s Perfect
There’s no telling what other experiences you might experience while racked with guilt, but something that can prove to be consistent is a hit to your self-esteem. You need to remember that you’re not perfect at the best of times, and nobody is. Mistakes are made and things happen – it’s often how you deal with the error and learn from it going forward that defines you, not the mistake itself.
7. Take the Opportunity to Improve Your Behaviour
When the feeling of guilt begins to subside, take the opportunity to reanalyse your behaviour. Did the mistake stem from something you often do? Is it something that you’ll struggle not to repeat? One of the best ways to avoid guilt in the first place is to become a better person and if that means changing what you do, where you go or anything else, now is an excellent time to get on top of things.
8. Always Refocus on Right Now
Guilt will naturally make you think about the past, and will hopefully prompt you to consider what else might happen going forward in the future. However, it’s also essential that you don’t lose sight of the now. All you can control with any certainty is how you behave and approach situations at this very moment, so don’t get too caught up in planning or regret.
9. Try Meditation and Relaxation Techniques
While not for everyone, we always like to throw a spell of clear thinking out there for those experiencing difficulties in mindfulness. Even if you’re a complete beginner, some quick research online – such as right here at 10 Tips, will give you an idea of what to do to cleanse your mind and potentially tackle the root cause of issues before they get any worse.
10. No Matter What Anyone Else Does, Make Sure You Let it Go
We’re going to finish up with another tip that is easier said than done, but it’s one you should keep in mind even if you can’t do it right now. Ultimately, you’ll feel less guilty, or potentially not at all, and you have to take that moment of clarity to forget all about the issue and let it live in the past where it belongs. As noted, you can’t go back and change it so apologise, make it right as best as you can then focus on moving forward with your life.