“Why did I take that leave?”
“I shouldn’t have lied to my friend?”
“I am on a diet, but I just finished a packet of cookies!!!”
Have you said one or all of these sentences on one or the other occasion?
If you just nodded with a “YES,” you might be able to guess the underlying emotion.
Guilt it is. And let us acknowledge that we all have been on a guilt trip at least once in our lives. So, it is okay to feel guilty… it is a common emotion.
There are so many emotions that we tend to feel throughout the course of our lives. While some are cherished, others are thought of better left unattended! And without a doubt, guilt is one of those emotions that may take you down if it takes a form of an unhealthy emotion.
If you ask me, psychologically and personally speaking, each emotion that we experience has a message to convey. And the feeling of guilt is no exception to it. Till the time you are enduring its message and working upon its need, it is healthy. But, as soon you ignore it or bury this feeling of guilt, it starts to bother you, and that’s when it becomes unwanted.
Let us see what is the message that guilty has to convey:
Message by the feeling of guilt:
“When you feel guilty, you are actually getting a pretty simple message that you are not doing something as per your set values. This feeling of guilt, motivates you to live in line with your moral and authentic values. This, in turn, improves your relationship with self and others.”
But, if the feeling of guilt is healthy for us in a way, then why get rid of them?
If the feeling of guilt persists or starts to interfere in your day-to-day life, that’s when it becomes problematic. So, to make sure that your feeling of guilt deliver their message and pass by swiftly, it is important to learn not to make them stay.
The Negative Side of Guilt
If not acknowledged and worked upon, proactively feeling of guilt might take a negative turn. These negative impacts of guilt include:
- Elevated levels of stress hormones.
- Increased negative thinking.
- Reported low level of self-esteem.
- Negative impact on overall physical health.
- Lowered productive thoughts.
- A negative view of self and others.
- Increased symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Just to make one thing clear, these negative impacts of the feeling of guilt are backed with paramount research. It definitely rings an alarm and makes it important to accept and work on our guilty feeling rather than shoving them off.
5 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty and Start Living Happily
1. Call Out Your Guilt and Talk to It
This advice might sound a little absurd to read at first, but this should be the ideal approach to stop feeling guilty. Be attentive to your thoughts, feeling, and emotions that come along when you feel guilty. Let the process of labeling come into play. It will help you separate yourself from your thoughts by understanding the reason for feeling guilty and realizing that it is not you but a situation that is responsible for these feelings. Detach yourself from the guilt
2. Take Self-Compassion Route
Stop beating yourself up for not doing enough; it is letting your guilt feed on it. Instead, it is advised to practice self-compassion. It will make sure that you don’t self-sabotage yourself and produce self-hatred. Self-compassion will be a break for your body and mind.
3. Work on Your Actions
What’s done is done, we can’t go back in time and change it, no matter how badly we want to. Then why stew over it? It becomes important that you realize this fact and stop viewing your past actions as the dictator of your present times and let your present actions take control of life. Here are some lines of action on which you can work:
- Create self-awareness.
- Reflect on the lessons that you’ve learned.
- Think about what you want to do differently.
- Do something good.
- Learn something new.
- Celebrate your small activities.
By engaging in all these activities, you will be able to work on your feeling of guilt proactively.
4. Make a Journey from Guilt to Gratitude
Have you ever used just a single color to paint a beautiful picture? Probably, no! Then why let one guilty-provoking moment shape the picture of your life? Studies support that guilt makes us view our life with a narrow perspective. By practicing gratitude, you can regain the true vision of life. You can keep a self-gratitude diary and remind yourself of the goods that are happening in your life. Writing down what you actually did well gives a sense of accomplishment.
5. Tell Yourself It Is Okay
As I wrote above, guilt is a common emotion; we all experience it. Don’t let it take you on a trip downhill. In fact, keep your heart on your heart, close your eyes, and tell yourself:
“It is okay for me to feel guilty; everyone experiences it.”
“It is okay if I let this emotion of guilt stay longer than I should have; I am learning.”
“It is okay to accept what happened; I am not running away from it now.”
“It is okay to feel what I felt, but it is important to not keep feeling this way.”
“It is completely okay; I got this.”
Trust me; it got so much peace by merely writing these anti-guilt phrases, I promise you will see them working in your favor. You may create more such empowering sentences; just make sure they make you unleash your power.
Remember, you have to proactively work on your feeling of guilt for it to not hamper your life.
Now, it’s time for you to apply these anti-guilt strategies to your life and explore what life has to offer to you.
Believe in yourself, pal…