- Mental Health
Letting Go of Unnecessary Guilt
Guilt is good in some ways. It is what keeps us on the right track and makes us generally do the “right” thing most of the time. We feel guilty when we don’t fulfill our obligations, snap at someone for a small infraction or disappoint our family members.
However, there is a downside to all that guilt. We sometimes punish ourselves over and over with feelings of guilt to the point that it weighs us down, keeps us awake and prevents us from moving forward with our lives. If you are feeling excessively guilty over small things or all your behaviors are controlled and dictated by the fear of guilt, you just might need to let go. If you have guilt that holds you back and prevents you from enjoying your life, it is unnecessary guilt and it is definitely time to let go.
The Weight of Guilt
How to Leave Your Guilt Behind . . .
- Get real with yourself. Keep your perspective and forgive yourself for the small stuff. Many of us feel guilty over minor situations that are simply not worth it. Did you kill someone, run him/her over with your car or slam the door on someone’s hand? No, well why are you feeling so guilty? What were your intentions? Did you do something wrong on purpose or by accident? Think about your situation and analyze and understand your true intentions. Not all situations are equal or deserve equal amounts of guilt.
- Accept responsibility for your behavior and the consequences of your behavior. We have all done something wrong in our lives. Admit your wrongs, apologize to those that matter to you, forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes ~ that is all you can do. Then, move on. Holding onto regrets and negative feelings adds nothing to your life. Constant punishment just prevents you from moving forward. Our pasts are full of lessons and learned experiences that can been seen as positive events that make us grow and become our best.
- Be true to you. We can all spend our entire lives with the “could have, would have and should have” attitude and never measure up to our strict ideas of what is expected or those expectations set by others. Instead, do and live with the values that are right for you. Get to know yourself and develop your own value system and follow those values, as opposed to worrying about the “should haves” of others. Once you are following your own values of what is right for you, a lot of your feelings of guilt will go by the wayside. It is hard to live up to the expectations of others, especially if they don’t embrass your own ideas of what is important.
A certain amount of guilt is alright. However, constantly beating yourself up over past mistakes can be really debilitating to your quality of life and hold you back from fulfilling your goals and appreciating and loving the people in your life. Learning to let go of guilt and leaving the "should haves" behind you can help you live in the moment and get the most out of your life.