Guilt a strong word, but behind that word, there’s a feeling that we have done something wrong. Feel guilt makes us feel anxious and stressed, so guilt prevents people from living a decent life.
Suppose you want to overcome the problems arising from the sense of culpa. By accepting the mistakes made and learn to forgive ourselves, you can take a step towards healing. Only in this way can we truly overcome the mistakes we have made in the past, to free ourselves from that sense of feeling guilt.
Why do People Feel Guilt?
Guilt is usually imposed outside, through the entire system of social rules, religion, family, parents and husband. It’s an attempt at control and manipulation. When the person doesn’t respect the standard, that person feels inadequate and unworthy of belonging to the group. When the person experiences uneasy feeling between whats he wants to do, and the need to meet the expectations of others, the sense of guilt can arise.
The Best Way to Approach to Guilt
Self-compassion vs self-flagellation
- Self-improvement requires a constant process of trial and error, the realisation that fallibility, not perfection is a universal human characteristic. Self-compassion should replace a hypercritical and self-flagellation attitude.
- Stop negative thoughts. By repeating them in our mind, negative thoughts increase their strength. Alternatively, you can try to be calm, caring and kind to yourself, recognise your feelings, accept mistakes. Believe, they’re small gestures, but it helps to break the vicious circles of guilt.
- Words have power; unfortunately, many of us have not consciously evaluated the impact they have on us. The words we use to describe the experiences or events can change our feelings and shape our beliefs. How often do we repeat negative statements like “I can’t do this”, “I always make the wrong decisions” and so on. Powerless communication scheme only reinforces negative feelings. Over time, we identify with the language used. In other words, we become what we’ve always said.
Treat yourself like you would treat a friend
Just try to imagine a situation in which a close friend feels a lot and is self-deprecating. How would you respond to your friend in this situation? Imagine in detail what to say that friend but above all how you would say it and what you would do in this situation.
Now think about the moments when you feel bad because things didn’t go as you wanted. How do you typically react to yourself in these situations? Think carefully about the comparison between these two types of cases. Have you noticed any differences? If the answer is yes, ask yourself why or what factors that lead you to treat yourself so differently from how you treat others.
Finally, write down, how things could change if you, in times of difficulty, answered yourself in the same way you usually answer a dear friend.
In summary, why not try to consider yourself the best friend of yours and see what happens.
Listen carefully to your internal thoughts to reduce anxiety
Be aware when brooding on self-critical thoughts of the internal voice, internal dialogue and detach oneself from the critical mind. Don’t try to change it by repressing it; these thoughts cross your mind at a particular time in your life, in certain circumstances.
It’s entirely reasonable to have thoughts in “difficult” situations, but it is not really the case to feel guilty with something that’s completely temporary and changeable. Let it flow away.
Feel Guilt isn’t a problem is something to get over
The rationalisation strategy is for who succeeds in giving coherent explanations. That will help relieve from a profound self-guilty load. Guilt often feeds on distortions of reality; for example, you may not be aware of the difference between intentionality and involuntariness.
Sometimes people have done something which isn’t proper, which isn’t correct, which is not true. Later they realise the action which has produced that, is rather regrettable, unfortunate, causing unhappiness to others and they feel guilty.
Keep in mind the good intentions that you had to act in a certain way; The human being is limited by lack of time, energy and knowledge, some imperfections might occur.
Furthermore, errors are related to inexperience and lack of knowledge rather than intentionality. Therefore through the experience and failure can lead us to the opportunity for growth and development.
Adopt another perspective: Stop Feel Guilt
Analyse the use of guilt, constructively. It’s quite different from the punitive vision. When you learn, could be therapeutic.
Look back at the scene to understand the context.
Take time to do some self-reflection questions.
- Why did you do that?
- How are the values applied in the scene?
- What value was I struggling to follow?
- Do those values really important for me?
- “Terapia del senso di colpa. Oltre la malinconica auto persecuzione”, Edoardo Giusti, Riccardo Bucciarelli, 2011, Roma, Italy, Sovrana Multimedia.
- “The Six Pillars of Self-esteem”, Nathaniel Braden, 1995, London, Random House Publishing Group.
- Psychology Today, ”The Definitive Guide to Guilt”,11 August 2012, Written by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Available at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/experts/susan-krauss-whitbourne-phd (Accessed 10 December 2019).