Overcoming Guilt

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Emotions are extremely powerful and deserved to be felt. Pushing them deep down will only cause more harm, no matter how difficult they might be to deal with. Guilt can be an especially painful emotion to feel and is often accompanied by shame or regret. You might not see it this way, but guilt is actually a good emotion.

Feeling guilty means that you have real empathy for those that you have hurt in some way. Guilt is good, but learning how to overcome this emotion and move forward is even better. Here are a few tips that will help you to overcome guilt

Take Responsibility

The only way to really move on from your guilt is to fully take responsibility for your actions. This means that you need to finally admit the role you played in whatever pain was caused. By taking responsibility, you can finally take the next step and move on from the guilt you are feeling. If you never stop rationalizing your actions, you will be kept in a state of guilt-ridden limbo forever.

Determine Your Motives

Analyzing why you did what you did can be a great way to overcome your guilt. If you can take a closer look at your actions and develop a deeper understanding, it won’t be long before you can learn from the mistakes you have made. Once you take responsibility and make changes that keep you from making similar mistakes, there is nothing holding you back from releasing the guilt you feel. If you can learn from the bad decisions you have made, you can grow and become a better person. There is no shame in making mistakes, but there is shame in not changing behaviors that led to these mistakes.

Forgive Yourself

Sometimes we are our own worst critic. Others might have already forgiven you, but you are the only one still holding onto the pain. Overcoming guilt starts with finally forgiving yourself. You can’t blame yourself forever. Guilt needs to run its course, but there is a point when it no longer becomes s healthy emotion. Tell yourself often that you deserve to be forgiven and remind yourself that you are in fact worthy of love.

Finding real closure and moving on from guilt is often a long process. You will experience a wide range of emotions along the way, but you need to be willing to do the work it takes to move forward and away from feelings of guilt.

-Flow Psychology Editor