Guilt stems from inflicting pain and hurt on others or FEAR of inflicting pain on others. Proportionate and disproportionate guilt respectively. If you are constantly struggling with something you either did or didn’t do, use these 8 strategies to deal with guilt.
These strategies are split between Proportionate and Disproportionate guilt.
Dealing with Proportionate Guilt
Guilt From Something You Did
“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next.”
1 – Learn From Your Mistakes
If you hurt someone, and you were in the wrong, what can you learn from that experience? How can you use it to be better and make better decisions? In the past I was always quick to say something hurtful if I was angry or felt threatened. I ended up feeling guilty for the things I said and for letting the other person down. Thankfully, over time, I learned from my mistakes and learned to take a second to breathe to get my emotions under control. What can you learn from what you did?
2 – Make Amends Quickly
Do what you can to make amends with the person you hurt and do it quickly. Swallow your pride, apologize and do whatever it takes. Ask for forgiveness or ways to make things right. Never try to justify your actions or give reasons why you did what you did. Deal with guilt and wrongdoings as soon as you can.
3 – Forgive Yourself
No one is perfect. You must learn to forgive yourself, accept any mistakes you may have made, and move on from there. Make amends and leave the past behind. You cannot change what has been done, but you can influence what happens in the future.
4- Focus on Self-Improvement To Deal With Guilt
Give some thought to the areas of your life that you are having issues with. Is it anger? Is it infidelity? Is it bad parenting? Decide to seek knowledge and help to address those issues.
Dealing with Disproportionate Guilt
Guilt From Something You Can’t Control
“Sometimes I forget that putting myself first isn’t selfish, but necessary.”
1 – Question Your Feeling of Guilt
I’ve always struggled with guilt. Not because I was constantly hurting someone, but because I was always afraid of hurting someone’s feelings for decisions I didn’t even make yet. There were so many times that I did something that made me unhappy because I was afraid I would hurt someone’s feelings. Most of the time it turned out it wouldn’t have made a difference to them one way or another. So what if you don’t go to the family BBQ this year? Are you really going to hurt someone? Question the reason why you are feeling guilty. Are you really responsible?
2 – Realize You Have No Power Over Other’s Emotions
You can trigger emotions in others, but you have no real control over their emotions. Everyone is responsible for their own feelings. Sometimes no matter what decision you make, the other person is going to be upset at you or disappointed anyway. Does this sound familiar? Give up control and let people be accountable for their own feelings.
3 – Take Note of The Things You Control vs What You Don’t
Write out things that you have control over in the situation. Most of the time you will discover that you don’t have any power over the situation at all. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- You are not in control of the way other people feel.
- You are not to blame for surviving a tragedy or being more fortunate than someone else.
4 – Practice Self-Love To Deal With Guilt
Learn to look for acceptance and love from the inside. Be compassionate to yourself and realize that you deserve to be happy as well.
What ways do you deal with guilt?