Five Tips for Overcoming Guilt

Guilt is the emotional scum that often keeps you from moving forward. It's the emotional echo of a regret you haven't combined; a barrier you build as a wake-up call. Overcoming guilt isn't always easy.
Five Tips for Overcoming Guilt

Last update: 10 July, 2020

Do you feel that your past mistakes and the remorse you feel as a consequence are holding you back? If so, you may need some keys to overcoming guilt as it’s keeping you from moving forward. This feeling can appear at any moment and come in many shapes depending on the variables. In other words, no action in itself causes remorse in everyone.

Therefore, for many people, having a drink with a friend without telling their significant other can be a source of much remorse. Even though it carries no weight at all for other people. The point is that, be it minor or not, when something makes you feel guilty, it’ll take away your peace of mind and immobilize you for a while.

Overcoming guilt

As we mentioned above, overcoming guilt is vital for optimal personal development. That being said, the first thing you must think about is what happened and what reasons led to this situation. It’s essential that you do some introspection to find out where your guilt is coming from. Time is short and you can’t make up for it so every day that goes by could be a lost one.

Therefore, good management of remorse is essential for it not to act as a poison in your state of mind. You must remember that such immobilization can lead to serious psychological conditions. It’s the perfect environment for depression to develop.

Thus, through introspection, you can find the gentle side of the emotion of guilt. Deep inner work will allow you to face this situation and its symptoms in a conscious and responsible way.

A seemingly upset person.

Guilt as a means to learn

Even though most people understand guilt as a negative emotion, it can be an aid for improvement and evolution. Therefore, you can transform it into a learning experience as long as you approach it maturely. This is because there’s little to gain from the feeling of guilt when you don’t do anything to analyze and resolve it.

To really learn, you must behave like a grownup and face your responsibilities in order to minimize frustration and helplessness. But, at the same time, you mustn’t carry the burden of responsibility for the actions of others and you should neither humiliate yourself nor let others do so. Therefore, adopting a practical attitude can be a good option for learning from these situations. Only this way will you discover how not to feel responsible for what others say or do but neither will you try to make others responsible for yours.

“O we are wearied of this sense of guilt, wearied of pleasure’s paramour despair, wearied of every temple we have built, wearied of every unanswered right, unanswered prayer, for man is weak; God sleeps: and heaven is high: one fiery-colored moment: one great love: and lo! we die.”

-Oscar Wilde-

Overcoming your guilt

There are many ways to overcome the feeling of guilt, that, thanks to the coherence and personal values, you should be able to apply in various situations. To do so, continue reading to find out what options you can take advantage of.

1. Identify remorse

Identifying the reasons for your guilt is the first step in overcoming it. You’ll find out what’s causing it, organize your thoughts and emotions, and visualize the problem using your own references or criteria. All for the purpose of reaching sensible conclusions that’ll offer the real image of what’s happening.

2. Evaluation of faults

A second way to deal with guilt is to assess the seriousness of the offenses committed. As wandering beings, everyone makes mistakes; the difference resides in the way you deal with them. Thus, the conscious reparation of any damage goes through the identification and acceptance of that damage.

A worried woman.

3. The value of forgiveness

In order to be able to forgive others, you must forgive yourself first. This skill will gradually free you from guilt and give you a different perspective. Thus, in time, you’ll be closer to restoring your inner peace.

4. Overcoming and transforming guilt

Reparation can relieve guilt. If verbal forgiveness or sincere repentance isn’t enough, some kind of symbolic act towards third parties who were affected might work.

5. Learning from your mistakes

The best way to not carry guilt is to always learn from your mistakes, no doubt. Guilt is a wake-up call for you to pay attention to a lesson that’ll allow you to evolve and move forward. Thus, overcoming guilt is possible if you face it with sincerity and seek a solution beyond making attempts to ignore it, to silence it before hearing its full message.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Rojas-Marcos, L. (2009). El sentimiento de culpa. Santillana Ediciones Generales, S.L. Madrid (España)

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.