“Every guilty person is his own hangman.” - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Identify guilt as soon as you can, process it and take whatever action is necessary to help you release the emotion. If the reasons for feeling guilty are bogus, reject them and in so doing you will also release the emotion.
What is Guilt?
It can lead to destructive behaviour such as defensiveness, aggression, becoming obsessed with power or perfection, blaming others, self-sacrifice or withdrawal.
How to Recognise Guilt
How to Know if Your Guilt is Justified or not
- If a friend came to me with the same situation would I view it in the same way or differently?
- Did I have total control over the situation?
- Did I always understand the consequences of my actions?
- Was I in a position to have foresight into this or is it only with hindsight that I’ve gained clarity?
- What can I do right now to make amends?
4 Ways to Deal With Guilt
1. Speak to Someone
When you allow your imagination to run riot and unchecked, the feelings remain inside you and tend to be far more destructive this way.
Speak to a trusted family member, good friend or even a counselling professional. Acknowledging your feelings of guilt can often help you see the situation more objectively than you are capable of when your out of control thoughts are whizzing around endlessly in your head.
Expressing your feelings of guilt to someone else gets them “out”, decreases their power and can assist you to let them go.
In my case I spoke to a few people, some family members and some good friends. Doing so helped me not to blow my feelings of guilt out of proportion and to confirm to myself that there was much about this situation over which I had had little control.
Apologizing holds great power for you as the one feeling guilty as well as for those you have wronged.
Only apologise if you actually mean it. Be specific about why you are sorry, taking care to take responsibility for your actions.
Let the other person know that you accept their hurt feelings if you are aware of this.
Offer to put things right if you can and don’t expect the one you have wronged to forgive and forget. This is also a learning experience for them.
In my case I could not apologise to my Dad in person so instead I wrote him a long letter of apology which was read at his memorial service.
3. Put Things Right
Making direct amends to those we have wronged is an ideal outcome but most of the time what is done cannot be fixed.
It is often more a symbolic gesture, demonstrating a willingness to make things right.
As in my case this could not be done but I was soothed by the fact that I had tried to make contact with him and that by writing the letter I had came as close to being able to do this as possible.
4. Forgive Yourself
In my opinion this is the most critical step.
Self-forgiveness is not abdicating responsibility. It is seeing mistakes as opportunities for learning rather than as personal failure.
It is releasing the hope that something from the past can be different.
It is accepting that you did the best you could at the time as did anybody else involved or else you and they would have done it differently.
I will as much as I can make peace with all beings today since it is the best chance I have to do so.
My father’s input at my conception was critical in creating me exactly as I am in order for me to have the exact opportunities I have had to learn and expand. For this I am eternally grateful.
We are all here doing the best we can with the resources we have at the time. When I truly understand this about myself then I cannot help but have compassion for all beings.
My Dad and I were, are and always will be in Spirit and when next we connect, none of this will matter at all.
I like the Lucius Annaeus Seneca quote above since it implies that you have total control over what you do with guilt. Guilt never controls you unless you allow it to do so. You always have control over the noose. You can remove it and move on or you can tighten it and give more of your power away. It’s entirely in your hands.
This site is all about encouraging you how to feel happy since when you do, you are in alignment with your true self. By taking responsibility for working through my guilt I was able to release not feeling good and return myself to feeling at peace and happy again.
The sense of relief I experienced as I did this so was so immense that it reminded me once again that we all have the power to change our focus at any time which ultimately leads us to being able to create our own lives without suffering if we so choose.
Have you experienced feelings of guilt in your life? How did you deal or not deal with your own situation? What for you is your take away from this post?
Comments will only be approved if :
- they pertain specifically to the post topic
- they add to the discussion at hand
- they link back to an appropriate blog. No static sites/ sales pages
you are not faceless. See gravatar.com
Guest Writers are welcome. Send your idea to me at firstname.lastname@example.org