Guilt is a very strong emotion. At times it can be crippling. It’s like the cold hand that reaches from the dark abyss of despair and pulls you back along with it. It can make your world crumble around you in seconds, leaving you grasping for straws. But that’s not the worst part. The thing is, as long as we live, we are bound to make mistakes, or take actions impulsively because let’s face it, at the end of the day we are all humans. And these actions and mistakes bring along with them guilt. Seeing as we have a long way to go until we become robots completely devoid of emotions, the least we can do, is learn how to deal with this monster of an emotion called guilt.
Be it a chick flick with your gal pals or just hitting the bar with your guys for a drink. Indulge a little. Pamper yourself. Get a tub of nice chocolate ice cream and dwell in its pleasure, or just do some retail therapy, or go golfing, Anything to get your mind off of your current predicament. It will make you feel better and lift the heavy burden off your mind. And before you know it, you’re brooding countenance will be replaced with a smiling one.
9. Be grateful
The thing about guilt is, it makes you feel like you are a bad person, but that is just blasphemous. We are humans, we all make mistakes. So make a list of all the things you did get right. Pin it up somewhere where you can see it every day, or carry it around with you. So whenever you find the cold hand of guilt reaching out to you, refer to the note. Remind yourself of all the instances where you didn’t goof up. Use your good actions to fight against your guilt.
8. Stop dwelling in the past
Actions are like bullets and words, once out ,they cannot be retrieved. Once you’ve made the mistake, there is nothing you can do. Time travel hasn’t yet been invented, so you can’t go back in time and undo what you’ve done. And life isn’t sci-fi movie either where a time travelling portal magically appears in the time of your need, nor do we possess Hermione’s time turner. So dwelling in the past doesn’t help anybody. Don’t spend your time brooding over the “what if’s”. It won’t fix anything; it’ll just end up ruining your present moment as well. So stop. Stop thinking about it, because no matter how much you regret it, there is nothing you can do about it. And wasting your now over it isn’t worth it.
7. Say it out loud
Keeping your emotions bottled up, or ignoring them doesn’t help solve anything. It just intensifies. So it’s important to say it out loud. It might be difficult to talk to people you care about regarding your problem. The nature of your guilt might make it hard to discuss it with the people you know. So the best thing to do is find a third party. Someone not involved with the situation at all. Talk to them. Come clean. Often they might be able to present you with solutions that others couldn’t have. A perspective of someone not related helps; it gives you a clear picture of the whole situation, devoid of judgment.
6. Find a balance
The entire universe and nature exists on a balance. Your guilt makes you feel bad about what you’ve done, the actions you’ve taken. So find a balance by helping others. Do a good deed. It doesn’t have to amount to charity work. Any simple actions, like helping a friend in need, or helping an older person cross the road, going out of your comfort zone to help someone else, because with helping others comes happiness. Your good deeds will lessen your guilt over the bad things you have done. Help others, find a balance for your actions, and remind yourself you’re still a good person.
The feeling of guilt often continues because we feel we aren’t getting the due punishment we deserve. Or that we have been let of easy for the mistakes that we made. While this feeling can be very dangerous making people do drastic things, it’s helpful if people realize this emotion, and take healthy steps to tackle it. Cut down on things you love for a while, give up watching your favorite TV show for a week, forgo your morning cup of coffee, if you’re a chocoholic, cut down on your chocolate for a month. Small things, this will make you feel as though you are paying for your guilt. Do your penance and you shall achieve salvation.
When we fail to get answers from anywhere, we turn to the higher power. Meditate; get in touch with your inner self. It will bring along with it a serene calmness. It will help you achieve a state of peaceful existence, where your mind ceases to be in turmoil. Don’t let the guilt win and cripple you over, find power and strength within yourself to fight it. Introspection will help clear your mind; it will help you achieve redemption.
3. Try to fix it
People make mistakes, things break, but along with that comes a chance at redemption, a chance to fix what you’ve broken. Make amends. Try your best to fix the mistake you made. The fact that you feel guilty over your actions means it isn’t the right action. Find the person, apologize, you’ll be surprised how long a simple apology can take you. Apologize, like you mean it from the heart, because you are upset over what you did, not because it is something that everyone is asking you to do. Be earnest. Let the person know you will do whatever it takes to fix it, however long it takes. You’re sincerity and persistence can soften people’s heart. Keep trying.
W e can try however hard we want, to fix something. But when it comes to fixing it with someone, it’s a two way street. If they aren’t willing to forgive you, or let bygones be bygones, no matter how hard you try, there is nothing you can do that can fix it. It can often be hard to hear it, and accept it, but sometimes, things get broken beyond repair. There is nothing we can do to change any of it. Our actions, they just set things in motion, and we have to learn to live with it. We have to learn to accept it. Accept that you tried your hardest to fix it, accept that it’s beyond repair. Acceptance will help you make peace with your past; it will help you move on.
Guilt makes people harsh on them self. It makes you punish yourself, it berates you. While we are often more forthcoming in forgiving other, we don’t extend the same courtesy to ourselves. Don’t be harsh on yourself. At the end of the day we are all humans, and we are bound to make mistakes. Don’t let the guilt wreck you, forgive yourself. Go easy on yourself, like you would have been on others. Be forthcoming in your forgiveness to yourself, because as Shakespeare once put it; “the quality of mercy is not strained, it dropeth like the gentle rain from heaven.”