Guilt is difficult to pin down, but we all feel it. You may feel guilty for a thought you've had or something you've done. While we generally think guilt is negative, it can actually be a positive.
Guilt lets us know when we have done something wrong. You know what I am talking about. That uneasy feeling that sits at the bottom of your stomach. Yeah, that one.
The problem is when let your guilt get out of hand. It can make you anxious, obsessive and even depressed. The good news is you can unlearn feeling extreme amounts of guilt.
There are two main types of guilt. Healthy guilt involves accepting that you've done wrong, and using it to improve your relationships and behaviours by:
Changing your behaviour
Accepting your faults and moving on
Unhealthy guilt is when you feel guilty for things that are imaginary or beyond your control. It can be hard to deal with, but you can manage your feelings by:
Understanding what you can and can't control
Challenging your own standards
Affirming the positive aspects of the situation
Being assertive with people who make you feel guilty
There's no magical cure for excessive guilt. Overcoming it takes practice and consistent emotional work. To overcome guilt, you need to reflect on and recognise a few things. But first, start by asking yourself questions like, “What is making me feel guilty?” and “What actions or thoughts are appearing because of my guilt?”.
Making positive thinking a habit can help overcome guilt. Note how you’re talking to yourself when you feel guilty. Are you saying things like “I should see my mom more” or “I could stop eating much so chocolate”?
Well, try turn “I should” or “I could” to something more positive, like “I get to”, “I deserve” or “I can”. For example, “I get to see my mom more” or “I can stop eating so much chocolate”
Once you have done that, try making a list of what you feel guilty about. Using that list, you can try to:
Write a letter to someone who made you feel guilty
Volunteer to make you feel less guilty about an issue you care for
Reframe what makes you feel guilty into a lesson to help you move forward
While everyone's guilt is unique, you are not alone in feeling guilty. Speaking about your guilt can open the doors to forgiveness, healing and relief.
If you are still feeling unsure, we have to some resources that will help.
Change your perspective and uncover a way forward for you!
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Mark Manson argues that life's struggles give it meaning, and that the mindless positivity of typical self-help books is neither practical nor helpful. Strap yourself in for this one.
101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna Wiest This book tackles why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life.
It Didn't Start with You by Mark Wolynn
A groundbreaking approach to transforming traumatic legacies passed down in families over generations, by an acclaimed expert in the field.
Phil, a self-centred weatherman, goes to the town of Punxsutawney for an assignment. He is later shocked when he wakes up the next morning and realises that he is reliving the same day over and over.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Two lovers have their memories clinically erased, and then fall in love all over again. Massive mistake!
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Walter Mitty works a dead-end office job, and dreams up romantic and action-filled scenarios to escape from his monotonous life. When his job is threatened, he sets out on a real journey.
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