4 Effective Ways To Move Past Feeling Guilty


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Guilt is a painful emotion that can be seriously debilitating. It can come over us for a number of reasons, and once it takes hold, guilt can be difficult to shake off. TGH wants to share 4 ways to successfully overcome guilt, taking time to learn from it as you do so.

Why Do We Feel Guilty?

There can be a variety of reasons that you might feel guilty. Maybe you feel responsible for something bad that you have done, or something that you have done wrong.

Guilt is common when you know that you have caused harm to someone, either by your action, or conversely your failure to act. Sometimes you can even feel guilty for succeeding when others failed, or more dramatically, surviving when others didn’t.

Useful Side Effects Of Guilt

Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change. ~ Gretchen Rubin

Strangely enough, guilt can be useful to us. If we are feeling remorseful it can give us pause to assess our moral direction. We might want to change our behaviour in future, or look at how we react to certain situations. We can learn to think about how our speech affects others for example. This can be a simple but life changing revelation.

This is an opportunity to learn from ‘mistakes’, reflect and grow. It can encourage us to develop empathy for others and live in a way that encorpates wisdom from our heart as well as our brain.

“My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.” ~ Franz Kafka

Studies have shown that individuals who feel guilt may have strong leadership potential. Becky Scaumberg, a doctoral candidate in organizational behavior who conducted the research alongside the Paul E. Holden Professor of Organizational Behavior said the following: “Guilt-prone people tend to carry a strong sense of responsibility to others, and that responsibility makes other people see them as leaders.” 

weight off your mind

When Guilt Becomes A Problem

Guilt can be very unproductive, this is especially true if the reason behind your guilt is largely out of your control, or if it is not really affecting anyone. Irrational guilt is simply a waste of energy and time, and robs you of your ability to enjoy the present.

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