How to let go of guilt

Guilt can be one of those emotions that can be really hard to shake off. It can suck the joy out of your life and can it can be hard to move on.

In this article, I’ll hep you to see the purpose of guilt and look at ways to get rid of it.

What is the purpose of guilt?

Guilt is a signpost. It helps us recognize mistakes so we can avoid repeating them in the future. Now, this is what I have found, but with any topic like this, it’s always important to check in with yourself to consider whether this is also true for you.

Here are 4 steps you can take to get rid of guilt.

How to get rid of guilt?

1 – What was the mistake?

Take time. This can feel uncomfortable. We have to look at our actions, to notice and acknowledge a mistake that we might have made. We often need to take responsibility for it.

No healing or movement can happen until we acknowledge something first. This is why this is step one. Can you narrow down specifically what the mistake was?

2 – What can you do to fix it?

How can you make amends? Is there something that would help to make this present situation better?

For example. Maybe I’ve lost my temper with someone. Maybe I need to go say “Sorry”, or buy the person a coffee. Can you do something nice for them? It feels good to us and to them especially if you talk about how this could be different in the future. This brings us to step 3.

3 – What can we do to prevent this from happening again?

If I have lost my temper, I need to think about why I lost my temper. Is it because I feel insecure in my job and the other person questioned that? That lead me to overreact. So to prevent this from happening in the future I need to work on healing that wound.

Or maybe I’m not sleeping well and I’m irritable. What I could do to prevent this in the future? I need to work on getting better sleep.

It’s important to see the big picture. I need to support myself to protect myself in the future.

I can help to discuss this with the person involved. This can help you stay accountable and help the other person understand that you are truly looking to improve your behavior.

4- Forgive yourself

This might seem counter-intuitive. So often we beat ourselves up to make ourselves try make ourselves a better person.

Think of a marathon runner. If they beat themselves up… they break their legs and arms. That’s really not going to help them run better in the future.

Beating yourself up may drive you to work harder, but ultimately it’ll make the journey harder.

Forgiving yourself makes you stronger and will help you to be better in the future.

I hear so often that it’s easier to be nice to others than it is to yourself. But that niceness usually comes with conditions. But when you are kind to yourself, it gives you more strength and nourishment so that you can be a better person to all around you without limit.

When you’re kind to yourself, you’ll be able to be kinder and a better person to others without conditions or limits.

A friend of mine gave me a plaque that hangs in my kitchen:

“I never make the same mistake twice… I make it four or five times… just to be sure.”

It’s ok if you make the same mistake over and over. Still, forgiving yourself is the best way to enable yourself to be a better person for other people and get rid of the guilt.

I hope you found this helpful. If you’d like to get more content like this, please remember to subscribe.

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My book

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to take this journey further, check out my book The Good Thing About Mortar Shells: Choosing love over fear”.