What is really a feeling of guilt

Overcoming Feelings of Guilt: With These 9 Tips You Can Do It

As important as healthy self-criticism is, those who frequently blame themselves should see how they can overcome their feelings of guilt. Sometimes we do or don't do something that we can blame ourselves for in hindsight. A permanently guilty conscience burdens and slows you down in all other areas of life. We'll show you where the self-blame comes from, why it's harmful and how you can overcome your guilt ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

9 Steps: How to Overcome Feelings of Guilt

Didn't jog again? Secretly surfing the video conference on the side? There are many different reasons to regret your own behavior in retrospect. If this turns into a carousel of thoughts, block yourself. The following eight tips can help you overcome your guilty feelings:

1. Clarify the reason

Sometimes it's just a vague feeling why we feel bad. Take the time to take a closer look at what has happened in the past. Did you say or do something that hurt others? Didn't you live up to your own expectations? If it is a major conflict situation, it can help to write down the details. This self-reflection helps you to visualize the trigger and to make conscious decisions in future, similar situations.

2. Accept the mistake

There is absolutely no point in tearing yourself apart. Whatever the cause of your guilt, you cannot undo it. Accept it happened. Don't try to deny or downplay the occasion. Rather, realize that everyone makes mistakes. Quite often the decisive factor is not that they happen, but how we deal with them. Mistakes don't have to be bad, they can show the way.

3. Discuss it with others

If something is very stressful for you, it can help to talk to other people about it. Find someone who you know is benevolent towards you, who understands you. This can be a friend or a therapist. Explain what happened, your motives, your emotions. In many cases you will find understanding. Even if your actions are not absolutely understandable for someone, they can give interesting impulses for a different perspective through their view of it. If you prefer to remain anonymous, a conversation with the telephone counseling service (0800.1110111 / 0800.1110222) can help.

4. Forgive yourself

Whether it is that you do not even talk to others about it out of shame or that you cannot understand your own accusations: It is always important that others forgive us. Often you make enough (unnecessary) reproaches yourself. Many believe that other people would judge them with the same severity as they do themselves. These are partly fallacies. So instead of griefing yourself forever, admit to yourself that there were reasons why you did so. At the time, you didn't know any better or could not have acted otherwise.

5. Make amends

Apologizing and explaining to others that you are sorry will help overcome feelings of guilt. So if you have injured or otherwise harmed another person, you should offer redress. This means that you take responsibility for your actions. At the same time, you can draw a line under a simmering conflict.

What to do when reparation is impossible

In some cases it is simply impossible to iron out a mistake. Someone you wronged has long since passed away or has refused to talk to you. Realize that you are not at the mercy of others. You can also get over your guilty feelings without the other person accepting your apology. To do this, you can practice a small ritual: write the incident in a letter to the person concerned. However, you do not send this letter off, but destroy it by burying it, throwing it into the river as a message in a bottle or burning it.

6. Reconsider your ideas

You will continue to feel guilty for adopting other people's values ​​that you don't support at all. For example, if your family's expectation is that they will attend church every Sunday, but you practice your faith differently, then this is a potential conflict. Stay with yourself. Make your values ​​clear to yourself and stand by them.

7. Recognize manipulation

Some people are dissatisfied with themselves and may try to convince you that they are to blame for their misfortune. Such accusations are often combined with generalizations: “You never do this or that”, “You always do this or that”. Depending on who utters them, such fingerings can make us feel guilty about our family, friends, or partner. On closer inspection, such allegations are completely unfounded. You can overcome your guilty feelings by exposing the behavior of others for what it is, namely manipulation attempts. Do not be used as a scapegoat or blame others for your own inadequacies.

8. Get more generous

Feelings of guilt arise from fear of rejection. In part, this is also based on completely exaggerated ideas of what we believe and what others expect of us. Apart from the fact that this does not always correspond to reality, you can work on doing something different yourself. Be kind to others without expecting anything in return. Break the cycle of having someone “owe you” just because you did a favor.

9. Learn from it

Everyone makes mistakes. Accepting them and improving them if possible (keyword: reparation) is part of the processing process. Then it is important not to persist in this guilty state. You apologized, worked on yourself. Check it off, look to the future. At the time you made the mistake, you couldn't do otherwise. Now you are wiser, in a similar situation you know better.

How do feelings of guilt arise?

Often it affects people with low self-esteem. Feelings of guilt arise when our behavior deviates from our personal norms and values ​​or those of those around us. Actually, they are quite useful. They signal to us that we made a mistake. Or at least are at a point where we would have acted differently if - yes, what exactly? We make numerous decisions in our life, often thousands a day, without even realizing it.

Every decision FOR something is also a decision AGAINST something else. Both are not always possible. If two people close to you are celebrating at the same time, you can only attend one party and thus disappoint the other person. In many cases the consequences of our actions are clear and we accept them approvingly. In others, the effects are not quite as clear. On the one hand, the differences lie in the extent. Not every mistake is equally bad and feelings of guilt can be different:

Everyday situations
You forgot an important appointment, had an argument with someone.

Life events
You betrayed and deeply hurt your partner.

Traumatization
You caused a serious accident in which people died.

On the other hand, you have to be aware that feelings of guilt arise in you: Unscrupulous people, such as psychopaths and sociopaths, have none.

Why are they harmful?

Those who don't fall into the latter category have to overcome their guilt. Otherwise, you will only suffer from it. Those who are susceptible to manipulation by others will constantly feel bad and open to blackmail: If you were just a better husband / father / friend / colleague / son, then you would…. However, you never get around to doing the things that are important to you. You will always be busy trying to please others at all costs. This is not only exhausting in the long run, but can lead to psychological complaints such as depression or physical symptoms.

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