Let’s admit it. We’ve all felt that nauseating twist in our stomach when we realise we’ve done something to cause someone pain.
We let guilt creep into our consciousness only to leave us with emotional turmoil.
Guilt is a very powerful emotion. It can weigh you down if you don’t own your mistake and take the honest path. It can also leave you with a sense of responsibility to clean up the mess you made and to think about how you can do things differently when the situation arises next.
While some guilt can be irrational and undeserving of our attention, guilt caused by hurting someone you love has a purpose to teach you something. We must pay attention to this fact so that we can be more considerate individuals.
If you’re ever at a point where you’re grappling with guilt, here are some ways that can help you deal with it.
1. Admit it:
A lot of people tend to push away their emotions and go on with life until they reach a point where it’s unbearable.
Acknowledging your guilt can be your first step towards being more in tune with your emotions.
In doing so, you are making a conscious decision to accept and work through your emotions no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.
2. Identify the root cause:
In addition to hurting another person, guilt can also stem from events that were beyond your control, such as parting ways with a friend who helped you greatly in the past but became disrespectful of your boundaries. Reflecting on the situation can help you determine the source of your guilt.
In the process of discovering the root cause of your guilt, you will realize that you owe an apology to either yourself or another person/group of people that you hurt. Make it a point to approach them with utmost humility and make amends.
4. Learn from the past:
Although looking back won’t allow you to change a thing from the past, you can try to connect the dots and make sense of what happened and how you could have done things differently.
5. Instill a sense of self-compassion:
Recognise that no one is perfect and instead of beating yourself up about what you did, treat yourself like you would treat a friend who made the same mistake. You deserve the same kindness. Remind yourself of your self-worth and make sure to be compassionate and forgiving.
6. Surround yourself with people you love:
Guilt can often lead to self-isolation which only leads to bottled up emotions. Instead, speak to people who you think can relate so that they can share their experiences in turn and support you in the process.
7. Consider going to therapy:
While friends and family can help, it’s important to explore effective coping skills when dealing with guilt.
A lot of people shy away from talking to others, they’re close to for fear of judgement. In such cases, a counsellor is the best person to turn to.
Therapy can offer a safe space to learn how to forgive yourself and move forward. If you’d like to open up about your guilt and seek professional support, we have a team of counsellors who would love to help you out. Book a session with us today by logging onto www.incontact.com.sg.
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