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Five Steps to Deal with Guilt in your Life

April 05, 2012  by: S. Chowdhury  Points: 12   Category: Health  Earning $0.70   Views: 767

Guilt is common to everybody and is almost a part of our daily life, as we all make mistakes and feel guilty about some of those at times. When the guilt about which there is nothing much to be done starts to torment us, or the ones we overlooked keeps troubling within, we need to deal with those sooner. Following five steps one by one mentioned in this article you could now know how to deal with your guilt and be trouble-free.


Human emotions are very much complex psychological state of mind of a person that has a strong physiological impact generating out of various kinds of influences and occurrences in one’s life. Even though many psychologists believe that there are usually six types of primary or basic emotions, namely, fear, happiness, love, sadness, surprise and anger, but there is no general consensus on this matter. There are innumerable secondary types of emotions that generate out of the basic emotions and bring about positive or negative changes in one’s thought process and behavioural patterns. One such secondary emotion is guilt.

Guilt is very common in everyday life of a human being and almost every person has experienced it at some point of time or the other in his or her life. Guilt generally makes someone feel responsible for something wrong being done by his or her own thinking or belief and feel remorseful about it. Though generally guilt is good as it helps someone to grow as an individual by constantly reminding them of their social and moral responsibilities and acting as warning signs if someone is not following the right and healthy path, but it can also act as an over-burdening form of emotion that wears down a person mentally if it is given a free ride every time.

How often do you feel bad about not caring more for your child, or your aged parents? How terrible you might have felt for not being at the deathbed of one of your loved ones? How sick in the stomach you most probably feel when you think of the instance you uttered something awful to your dear friend? Did you ruin your day at work by rebuking your child harshly for a trivial issue in the morning? All of these are common examples of guilt that you and I face in our lives regularly and have to deal with.

Guilt can really wear you down mentally and make you feel miserable

As long as guilt helps someone to make amends in life and not repeat the same mistakes next time around, it is good. But if the sense of guilt of a person starts to victimize him or her and make them feel worse and depressed all the time, then their normal activities of daily life go for a toss! Life becomes really miserable for them as they keep going back and forth on the same troubling thoughts over and over again and no respite appears in sight! Here is where one needs to analyze one’s thinking patterns and weed out the negative and superfluous aspects resulting from sense of guilt. Following are five simple steps of dealing with guilt in anyone’s life and starting with the first step as you move forward you’d learn much better ways of dealing with your guilt:

(1) Become aware of your guilt

It is very important for an individual to acknowledge the fact that they are operating out of guilt. Unless that is done one cannot move forward to the next step and will continue to punish and torment themselves within their own mind for every supposed wrong act being committed or won’t be aware of the problem that they need to deal with sooner rather than later. In our daily troublesome and challenging life we tend to overlook many matters until it starts hurting us to get our attention. The same is true for a certain kind of guilt also. If after every shopping session you come back home with your purchased items and feel bad about the spending then you have to realize that your shopping spree is giving rise to guilt within you and you need to act soon to fix the issue. So being aware that you are operating out of guilt is very important for everybody and the first step towards solving the problem.

(2) Try to figure out your guilt

Have you given a thought, as to why you feel guilty and bad at most times? It could be a lot of things and if the number of things that make you feel bad goes on increasing, as it is supposed to if it is left unattended, then it becomes really hard to figure out the source of the problem. So take some time out to think what are the issues actually that is hurting you. It could be a lot of things, like not following a healthy diet, waking up late everyday, not taking time to exercise, not giving quality time to kids or spouse or even aged parents, spending too much on shopping, to name just a few possibilities of countless such matters that can make you feel guilty. As the numbers of those increases so does the intensity of feeling of guilt within you. So if you find it puzzling to figure out by thinking, you can write down the issues on a piece of paper and then deal with them one by one.

(3) Taking control over your guilt

When you start feeling guilty about a lot of things it is quite natural that you end up adding items on your subconscious list of guilt generating issues that you have no control of. It can be feeling guilty about your parent or some other loved person in the family passing away while you start thinking that you didn’t do enough while he or she was still alive. Also it can be an issue with someone who is not ready to accept or forgive you despite your best and most sincere efforts. These are just a few examples of things you can’t change. Therefore it is better to accept the fact and move on. If you find it difficult to accept the reality then there are other ways of dealing with those that I am going to state in the next steps.

(4) Accepting your mistakes and making amends

Even though there are guilt from issues that you cannot change and issues that are too trivial to give importance to, but there are also issues that act as warning signs to caution you from doing something that is wrong for you as well as for others closely related to you. So you can’t just ignore every warning sign, you have to face those head on and deal with them. It is not easy to deal with your faults and shortcomings but you must know that it will only make you stronger once you start dealing with those shortcomings. So if you feel you are splurging your finances on excessive shopping and lavish lifestyle then you can surely cut down your expenses and save funds, which you can invest elsewhere or even give to charity. Likewise if you realize that you have hurt someone by offending him or her in some way then have the grace to walk up to that person and say sorry. If they are open-minded then certainly they will accept your apologies. You can only do that much, but you have to be pro-active to make amends to the mistakes you have made, if those makes you feel guilty.

(5) Forgiving yourself for the wrongs committed

This is probably the hardest step of all; even if we can forget the whole world we generally find it so difficult to forget ourselves! To let go of your guilt you have to learn to forget yourself. First think about the degree of your guilt. Next analyze whether you have made any efforts to make amends. What were the results of your efforts to make amends? Is it still making you feel bad? Then it must be that you are unable to forgive yourself of the mistakes you made. Just think about the fact that nobody is perfect in life. Everybody makes mistakes however big or small. You are not the first one to make a mistake and you certainly won’t be the last one. Also you are going to make mistakes in future as well. There is the renowned adage that says, ‘To err is human….’, so is it with all of us. The problems starts to appear when we don’t learn from our mistakes and keep repeating the same mistakes again and again. So learn from your past mistakes so you don’t end up repeating those again and accept your shortcomings as they are, while you keep working on those to make them better.

Even though guilt is a necessary aspect of our lives and personalities but it is also natural to accept some of those and move on and make amends for others. I really believe that the abovementioned steps will help you greatly in dealing with your guilt that is giving you lot of trouble in your everyday life, so that you can lead a happy, prosperous and healthy life, but if your problem is an acute one and you don’t seem to have any control over your thoughts, while your guilt is making your life a living hell then you should seek professional help very soon. For other people – the key to lead a negative-guilt free life is now in your hands!

Learn to let go of your guilt and be free!


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