Feeling Guilty? Here’s How to Overcome It and Move On

Feeling guilt is a natural part of life. Human as we are, we are prone to making mistakes that we will eventually regret later on. We are not perfect, but the best part about guilt is that it encourages us to make better decisions and avoid making the same mistakes again.

In a way, feeling guilt is part of the process of personal development. But as much as it helps us grow into wiser people, it also has the potential to keep us from becoming any better. 

You will know that your guilt is becoming worse when you deprive yourself of valuable experiences and opportunities. Other than that, your relationships can also break down as your guilt causes you to distrust others — including family members and friends.

If you think the feeling of guilt drives you away from becoming a better and wiser person, here’s the good news: There are healthy ways to overcome guilt and move on with your life. 

Here’s how:

Acknowledge the cause

As with any other emotion, guilt has to have a cause. What is it that you regret so much? Why was the experience so profound so as to make you feel extreme bouts of regret? 

Whether it’s a small thing like forgetting to buy your spouse an anniversary gift or a traumatic event like the accidental death of a loved one, realizing the source of your guilt helps you get started on the long road to liberating yourself from it. With that being said, it always helps to write down this event or situation in a journal and track how you feel about it. 

Know that you are not always in control

The positive side of feeling guilty is that it shows our moral capacity to hold ourselves accountable for a mistake or error. Then again, there are those who feel guilty over a situation they could not prevent (let alone control) in the first place. It’s easy to guilt-trip yourself over hurting someone unintentionally, but you are only digging yourself a deeper hole. 

We all need to accept the fact that not every bad thing is our fault. We could be in the worst place and at the worst time, but what’s important is that we can leave the past behind and find hope for a better future. 

Reach out and make amends

Are you feeling guilty because you have loose ends to tie up? The feeling becomes stronger especially if you hurt someone directly in the past. Arguments and conflicts leave an emotional scar that lasts up until you are ready to make amends. 

You may not feel compelled to admit your fault and apologize to the person, but you have to realize that moving on means reaching out. Saying sorry goes a long way in helping you get rid of all the emotional baggage you have had to carry. If ever you did someone wrong, admit your fault and, as you do so, show the person that you are willing to make a positive change. 

This may all seem trivial, but guilt can be dealt with only when you have mustered the courage to overcome it.

Leaving it alone will only lead to complications such as anxiety attacks, sleeping problems, eating problems, and depression. 

But there is hope. If you or someone you know is suffering from an extreme feeling of guilt, reach out to us at MidCities Psychiatry. To schedule a consultation, give us a call at {{phone number}}. We’re always available to help you get past your problems and move forward towards achieving greater goals

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