Dealing with guilt is not an easy task, and we all face situations in life where we blame ourselves for something.
Guilt is an emotion we experience that is connected to an action in the past whereby we feel remorse or shame. It typically occurs when we have regretted something we have done.
However, when guilt remains unresolved, it can have serious implications for that person’s mental wellbeing in the future. It can affect their relationships, their attitude and general outlook on life.
But guilt is a normal human emotion and should be embraced and used to help us grow and evolve as human beings. Dealing with guilt can teach us important things and help us become better people to those around us. There are, however, some people that have already learned how to handle the feelings of guilt. These are the mentally strong.
So what lessons can we learn from the mentally strong when it comes to dealing with guilt?
Here are some examples:
Identify what kind of guilt you have
There are different kinds of guilt, and it is important to identify which kind can help you process and find out what purpose it has in your life. Mentally strong people know there is a lesson to be learned from guilt, but only if you know what kind it is.
There is ‘appropriate or healthy’ guilt, where the guilt feelings are telling us our actions are offensive to others and we should change our behaviour. There is also ‘unhealthy or inappropriate’ guilt where our guilt is misplaced, and we should not take any notice of it.
Become proactive, not defensive
There is no point in becoming so guilt-ridden that you are unable to deal with the feelings of guilt. Instead, the mentally strong understand that it is important to recognise the reasons for feeling guilty and then address the issue, rather than living defensively and ignoring them.
Put guilt into context
Mentally strong people have a knack of seeing what is important and what is not. They are able to put everything into context and judge where the priorities lie. They tend to focus on what is important and what will enable them to become better people. Anything else can wait.
Once the mentally strong have examined and decided what is making them feel guilty, they then decide on a plan of action from which they are not deterred. They follow their own path and course of action until they have fully resolved the issue of guilt.
They learn from the experience
There is no point burying feelings of guilt, hoping that they will go away of their own accord. Mentally strong people know that you can only learn from your mistakes by understanding negative emotions and facing them head on. Leaving them alone just allows them to fester and become more destructive.
Address the issue immediately
Mentally strong people know that by tackling the feelings of guilt quickly and effectively allows them to resolve the guilt and find a way to move forward. Understanding what the guilt feeling is trying to tell us and dealing with guilt as soon as we start feeling it means that we can get back to normal much sooner.
Learning to forgive is an important part of understanding and dealing with guilt. When we forgive people, we free ourselves from the bonds of anger and pain and allow ourselves the freedom to move on. By seeing things from another’s perspective we see the bigger picture, which can sometimes be overwhelmed by the guilt feelings.
It is important to understand our reaction to certain situations and why we respond in such a fashion. By recognising this, we can lead a peaceful and fulfilling life, unencumbered by guilt.
Once guilt is understood and dealt with, it is time to move on from the whole process. If we don’t, we get trapped in a lifestyle of wallowing in guilt that keeps us from realising our full potential. By truly reflecting on our guilt, we can understand others better and everything in our life improves.
Understand that no one is perfect
You cannot strive for perfection in any part of your life as it simply does not exist. There are no perfect people, no perfect situations, lifestyles or relationships. People make mistakes, it is human nature, and realising that allows us to accept that guilt can be a useless emotion.
Guilt is a human emotion, it affects all of us at some point in our lives. It can teach us lessons about our behaviour, or steep us in depression if not dealt with. By taking a look at how the mentally strong deal with guilt, we can all process guilt a little better.