There may be times in your life when you feel guilty about something you have said and done. This is common and everyone has been through this and handles it in a variety of ways. Sometimes guilt is a good thing for us. It helps us to regulate how we behave and our moral values in life.
But guilt doesn’t have to get you down or take over your life. It is important to remember that nobody is perfect and while you may occasionally have a good reason for feeling guilt, you don’t have to allow it to take over your life. Some ways in which you can do this is to understand guilt and why it happens as well as when it is appropriate and when it is not.
If you want to have a life that is free from guilt then the following are some tips you can use:
Understanding Guilt – We feel guilt because we know that something was said or done that was not appropriate or that may hurt another’s feelings or ourselves. Guilt is a tool that helps us to better understand how behaviors can be detrimental and can be used to help people become more mature.
There are many ways in which people experience guilt. For example, if you cheat on your diet, you may feel guilty, even if no one else knows about it. If a spouse cheats and has an affair, they may feel guilt on a regular basis from their infidelity. Most people will also feel guilt while they are in the act of doing something that they know is wrong.
There are forms of guilt that are appropriate and those that are not but still affect people. Any form of guilt that helps a person become better because they have learned from it is considered to be appropriate guilt. An example of inappropriate guilt is when a parent feels guilty when a child is born with a disability. This type of inappropriate guilt can overwhelm a person’s life and well-being.
Becoming Free of Appropriate Guilt – When you are feeling guilty over something that you have done wrong, then it is time to change your behavior. If you are drinking too much and driving while you are intoxicated, you may wake up in the morning feeling guilty over your behavior while drinking and the fact that you put your life and others at risk by driving. This is appropriate guilt and it is valid for you to feel this way. However, if you go out again and repeat this behavior, you are not freeing yourself of the guilt, but increasing it. The only way to become free of appropriate guilt is by changing the behavior that causes it. Instead of driving home, bring a friend who is not drinking to drive or take a taxicab. Learn your lesson and you can become free from guilt.
Acknowledge Your Mistakes to Those You Have Wronged – If your guilt stems from doing something to hurt another, such as the cheating spouse example, then you need to come clean. The best way to remove this guilt is to simply fess up and hope that you are forgiven. The outcome is never certain, but your mind and heart can be freed from the guilt and you can at least move on. Guilt has a way of stymieing the forward progress in our lives and you need to be rid of it.
Move On – This is the most important step and the most difficult to achieve for those who want to live a guilt-free life. Once you have come to terms, have learned from your mistakes and have made amends, you need to move on with your life. You should not carry the guilt around with you. Let it go. If you have to, imagine it being blown away on the breeze never to come back again. When you can do this, you are on your way to living your life free from guilt.
Everyone feels guilt at one time or another because we are human and do things that are not always appropriate. If you can learn from your mistakes and grow from the experience, then you can redeem yourself and lose the guilt. Make amends with those who you have wronged and move on with your life. Don’t allow guilt to consume you. When you use the above tips, you can live your life free from guilt.