Not everyone is built for guilt. Those on the more anxious side of the spectrum will find it almost debilitating to suffer through this ‘condition’.
The emotional turmoil of worrying that you have unintentionally hurt someone or let out your raw thoughts is a heavy burden to bear.
Why is guilt so powerful?
Guilt is not just an emotional process but also an intellectual one that affects you in every aspect including physically. It robs you of your potential to be happy because of the negative cloud that hovers in your every thought.
Your mind will find all sorts of negative implications in situations and that includes past behaviors that you can’t do anything about anymore.
So you obsess about what could happen as a result, it affects how you will act towards a person/people, how you’re going to behave, how you’re going to think, etc.
While feeling guilty is a normal response, it can be especially hard on people who have a higher sense of morality or those who have a higher sense of responsibility.
They take it upon themselves to always know what’s best and act accordingly.
When they do make mistakes, or think they do, it takes a deeper toll on them. They worry about what other people will think of them, they sensor themselves too much, they get more intense about life.
So how do you reduce guilt’s impact on your life then?
Accept it as a natural occurrence
You are human too. No matter how super you think of yourself or how noble all your thoughts and actions usually are, you’re not removed from erring.
So you need to learn how to come to grips with failing over and over.
Such is life. You can’t escape it.
The more you try to think that your continuous improvement means you’re perfect and therefore shouldn’t be making mistakes anymore, the more you’re setting yourself up for guilt.
Just let things happen, feel the emotions that come with them and move on.
Make a scale
You need to come up with your own scale of how bad things actually are vs. how bad it is in your head.
Put life or death situations on one end and taper down the seriousness as you go down the scale of events that ultimately lead to your mildest seriousness which is your imagined scenarios.
The tricky part is how to audit your feelings and rank them honestly in your scale.
This works for a lot of situations. But really, when you fast forward your life, a year, 2 years, 5 years down the road, will this current ‘issue’ of yours still matter?
Will it have the effect you’re afraid of right now? Will you feel the same about it?
Chances are, it won’t and you won’t. Remember what happened a few years ago? Nope. Because they aren’t as important as you thought they were.
They have shaped who you are now, and that was their purpose, that’s what was important about them.
Teach yourself to view life in the bigger picture aspect and remind yourself how far you’ve come from the mistakes you once made.
Distinguish between fear and reality
Guilt has a funny way of making us think that our fears are actually happening or that it will happen, it’s just a matter of time.
That our actions have led us to the worst case scenarios and we are scrambling to take them back.
While imagination is good to have, it’s better if you don’t let yourself run with it for so long. It can take you to dark places.
Learn to realize when you’re being too overanalyzing and you’re crossing the line already.
Stop yourself from going overboard and see what’s really happening.
Sometimes we tend to read between the lines too much and fail to read what’s actually written in bold letters.