Guilt is a feeling I'm sure we are all familiar with and have experienced before. It could be guilt from feeling bad about eating that last piece of strawberry cheesecake to wishing you had made time to talk to that friend only to learn that she passed away from breast cancer a few short months later.
Guilt can definitely take its toll on your mental health if left unaddressed. Sometimes even our decisions can cause us to feel guilty especially when we see the direct implications they have or cause. The reasons for guilt are vast and varied; its an uncomfortable feeling to have but it also can serve as our own internal policing mechanism to check our behavior and choices.
Feeling guilty is natural but allowing said guilt control us is not. Nobody tells us how to handle guilty feelings; experts and bloggers (like me) can proffer tips and suggestions through books, personal experience or even proven research on how to stop feeling so guilty all the time. Realizing that there is such a thing as healthy and unhealthy guilt, here's my take on how to stop feeling guilty. Start doing this today instead:
- Examine the evidence: if you feel guilty because you made the decision not to have kids for example, list all the reasons why you don't and whether they make sense to anyone or not, they are YOUR reasons and you are entitled to them.
- Forgive & Appreciate Yourself: you are but only human after all and are bound to make mistakes or errors in judgement. Forgive yourself and appreciate the fact that you are human enough to recognize your flaws. Allow yourself grow from any experience that leaves you feeling guilty.
- Talk to Someone: sometimes confiding in a trustworthy person can help ease the burden of guilt. A neutral perspective on the situation will allow you see things as they are rather than how you perceive them to be. It may not always be as bad as it seems and even if it is, a neutral party can offer a solution you are unable to see.
- Everything Isn't Always So Black & White: life will many times force you between a rock and a hard place. The choices you will have will not always be so black and white so being gentle with yourself when you start feeling guilty for a decision you had to make is important.
- Journal: my personal cure for everything, lol! Write about your feelings, your state of mind and subsequent actions after guilt sets in. Journaling causes you to look at your reactions a lot more logically. Ask yourself questions, be truthful with your responses, breathe, practice self forgiveness then leave all those emotions on the pages of that journal.
All easier said than done of course as it is when dealing with challenging emotions but guilt is very much like fear to me - crippling and binding unless we choose to set ourselves free. As a woman that is constantly transitioning, it is important for me to learn how to properly deal with negative feelings and I encourage all of us to stop feeling guilty about things that were never within our control to begin with and start doing more self evaluation in order to heal.
How do you handle guilty feelings? What steps do you take to combat and overcome them? Hope you share in the comments..
Always Love 💕