If you’re feeling guilty, you’re not alone – we all feel guilty from time to time, whether it’s about something big or small. The issue lies in how you deal with this guilt – if you let it get the best of you, you’ll probably wind up feeling even worse in the long run.
Fortunately, by learning how to stop feeling guilty and instead start feeling less guilty and more confident in your decisions, you can be sure that your confidence will actually improve rather than deteriorate as a result of your feelings of guilt. So how can you do this?
What It Means to Feel Guilty
Feeling guilty is a normal experience that arises when we believe we have done something wrong or violated our moral code. However, dealing with feelings of guilt can be challenging, as these feelings often lead to negative emotions such as shame and self-doubt.
Fortunately, there are several strategies that you can use to stop feeling guilty and overcome these negative emotions.
17 Ways to Stop Feeling Guilty
1) Accept What Happened
No one can change what happened in your past. Yes, you might have made mistakes and would have handled things differently—but if you want to overcome guilt and forgive yourself, it’s important to acknowledge what actually happened.
Accept that some events are beyond your control and remind yourself that living in denial will only make you feel worse in the long run.
Looking back with a clear head can help set a new course for moving forward. Just because you might not have been able to change how something ended doesn’t mean you can’t rewrite how it starts or continues.
If a mistake changed things forever, use that newfound knowledge as motivation for a fresh start. There is nothing wrong with admitting our imperfections – we are human after all!
2) Embrace Your Positivity
The best way to overcome feelings of guilt is by embracing your positivity. Think about all of your accomplishments and all that you’ve learned through past experiences.
Make a list of how far you’ve come and how much good you’ve done in your life. Knowing that everything happens for a reason will help you realize there isn’t anything in particular that you should feel guilty about.
Another strategy is to look ahead, not back, especially with an eye toward what has been difficult in order to better appreciate how far you’ve come. This can be accomplished by working on forgiveness.
3) Look Forward, Not Back
If you feel guilty about something you did, it’s difficult (but not impossible) to move forward. When a feeling of guilt lingers, take time out of your day to reflect on what happened.
What was happening in your life at that time? Were you dealing with a death or illness?
Maybe there were some major changes in your life—like getting married or divorced. It’s important that you understand exactly why you are feeling guilty and why it isn’t helpful in moving forward with confidence and happiness.
Don’t dwell on past mistakes—look toward the future. It will be brighter if you are no longer weighed down by guilt!
4) Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Don’t compare yourself or your life with others. When you compare yourself, you may feel inferior and guilty when others have more than you do.
You also have no control over what others do and how they live their lives. So why bother comparing?
Focus on your own life, accomplishments, and values instead of worrying about how other people measure up. It’s hard to feel guilty if you aren’t feeling envious or jealous at all!
Be happy for other people who are doing well in their lives; that doesn’t mean you are doing badly in yours! If you focus on yourself, it is easier to stop feeling guilty.
5) Take Positive Action
Instead of feeling guilty about something you’ve done or not done, use that energy to fix what’s broken. Think of it as your obligation—you can only control your behavior from here on out.
You don’t have any control over what you did in the past and there’s no point in torturing yourself with should-haves.
What matters is right now and how you deal with guilt moving forward. If something causes you pain, address it head-on by talking about it, accepting responsibility for your actions, and fixing what needs to be fixed.
6) Live In The Moment
When we’re too caught up in what happened yesterday or last year, it can be hard to think about what’s right in front of us.
And that kind of thinking may lead us to make poor decisions. If you find yourself feeling guilty, sit back and ask yourself if you could have done anything differently.
Think about that mistake or misstep as a learning experience, and remember that there are no mistakes when it comes to learning new things.
The next time something happens, don’t rush into anger or guilt; focus on your own growth instead. To stop feeling guilty once and for all, start living in the moment—you won’t regret it!
7) Own Up To What You’ve Done Wrong
This is an obvious one—but it’s also a really important one. Whether you did something bad or failed at something, admit it and take responsibility for it.
It doesn’t mean you can never forgive yourself; sometimes people just do things without thinking them through or make a mistake that has a negative impact on someone else.
The point here is not to wallow in guilt (that will usually make you feel worse), but rather come clean with others about what happened and accept that you are imperfect (we all are!).
Instead of feeling like you’re a bad person, focus on what caused your actions and how you can prevent such situations from happening again.
8) Learn From Mistakes
When we make a mistake, it can be easy to get stuck in a downward spiral of guilt. We beat ourselves up mentally and physically, which often makes us feel even worse—if not physically, then emotionally.
It’s important to remind yourself that feeling bad doesn’t fix anything—in fact, it only adds another layer of problems.
If you’re feeling guilty about something you did or didn’t do, give yourself some time to feel bad before making any big decisions like saying goodbye forever or going on an eating binge.
Trying to resolve these feelings too quickly can leave you feeling as if there’s no way out of your guilt—or anger at yourself.
9) Be Humble
No one is perfect, no matter how hard we try to be. Life is a series of peaks and valleys, and we have to accept that fact.
The key is to not get too high when things are going well or too low when they’re not. Be humble in both victory and defeat—it’s the best way to keep things in perspective.
10) Let Go Of The Past
This is easier said than done, but it’s so important. Holding onto the past will only make you feel worse in the present.
You can’t change what’s already happened, so instead of dwelling on it, focus on the present and the future.
What matters is what you do from here on out. Let go of the past and move forward—you’ll be so much happier.
11) Accept That It Takes Time To Feel Better
If you’re feeling guilty about something, it’s important to accept that it will take time to feel better.
You can’t expect to snap your fingers and be over it—working through guilt takes time, patience and effort.
But if you’re willing to put in the work and make changes in your life, you will eventually be able to overcome the guilt and move on.
Keep working at it consistently and eventually you’ll see the results you want. And when that happens, you’ll know that all of the hard work was worth it.
Remember: it may take a while to feel better, but eventually you will get there. Just keep moving forward!
12) Talk to a therapist
A therapist can help you understand your guilt and work through it in a healthy way. This may require some soul searching and reflection, but it can be an incredibly powerful tool for overcoming guilt.
13) Journal about your feelings
Keeping a journal is a great way to work through your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental space. Write about why you feel guilty and how you can overcome those feelings. You may find that journaling is a helpful way to work through your guilt.
14) Talk to a friend or family member
Talking to someone you trust about your feelings can be really helpful.
may be able to offer you a different perspective or some words of wisdom. Just talking about your guilt can help you feel better.
15) Do something positive for yourself
Taking care of yourself can be a great way to move past your guilt.
Whether it’s taking a long bath, getting some exercise, or treating yourself to your favorite meal, doing something positive for yourself can help you feel better and refocus on the present moment.
16) Practice self-compassion
Guilt often stems from feeling like you are not good enough.
Through practicing self-compassion, you can reframe your thoughts and start to accept yourself for who you are. This can help you move past your guilt and feel better about yourself.
17) Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that helps you focus on the present moment.
When you are mindful, you are not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This can help you let go of your guilt and live in the present moment.
Overcoming guilt can be challenging, but it is possible. If you are struggling with feelings of guilt, try some of the tips above to help you move past these feelings and feel better about yourself.
Whether it’s talking to a friend or family member, journaling, or practicing mindfulness, there are many tools that can help you work through your guilt and feel better. So don’t give up – keep working at it, and you’ll get there in the end.