Guilt is an emotion that people experience after doing something wrong, the mistake can be small or big. It is not comfortable to feel guilty and guilty people will find themselves feeling lonely, upset, and angry. Individuals who feel guilty at most times will have a hard time leading a normal life and maintaining relationships.
Everybody feels guilty at some point in their lives because we are human and we all make mistakes or say something we regret. For some people guilt occupies a major portion of their lives, they are unable to get over the feeling. To get a better understanding take note of the types of guilt
This is a type of guilt where a person feels guilty after making a common mistake, such as forgetting important dates such as birthday, forgetting about a dinner invitation, and so on.
A negative feeling associated with the thought that I could have done better, existential guilt occurs when a person feels they could have been more successful even when things are not in their control. For example- Not being able to be as productive as desired because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the person feels I could have planned better and been better prepared to face the pandemic.
This type of guilt arises when you have done something wrong that has let another person down. Certain scenarios would be if you are unable to have a good relationship with another person, and anything they say makes you feel guilty or if you have spoken about a sensitive topic unintentionally to someone and they feel hurt, it will make you feel guilty. For example, if you ask a friend or colleague how is your day and they respond negatively because their day did not go as well as planned.
It is important to know that there are ways to overcome and feel better from guilt:
Guilt makes a person feel empty, helpless, depressed, anxious and he/she lacks self-compassion. It is essential to gradually work on recognizing yourself, accept how you are feeling, recognize your emotions, and develop self-compassion. It will be good to realize that it is normal to feel guilty and it makes you a good person. Give yourself a break, write down your good qualities, and your strengths.
Realize no one is perfect:
Guilt occurs from a mistake whether big or small, it is important to know that everyone makes mistakes, it is normal because we are human and no one is perfect. Spend time to reflect on the guilt emotion, analyze what went wrong, think about your good qualities and use a positive phrase such as I am going to have control over the situation, I can emerge stronger, everything is going to be fine, and so on.
You are not alone:
When overwhelmed with guilt, realize you are not alone, there are people who have similar issues to deal with. Talk about your feelings to a trusted person and counselling is a good option.
Accept your guilt and move forward:
It is unbearable to feel guilty all the time, especially if you have hurt someone, accept your guilt, but also take care of yourself your emotions, and your feelings. Think about your positive qualities, and work towards a life you desire for yourself. Once you move forward you are likely to feel better about yourself and gain a lot of respect.