We’ve all made a mistake we regret or feel guilty about at some point in our life.
Mistakes are part of the human growth process, but we make mistakes that cause guilt to creep in and take up space in our minds, generating tons of emotional and physical unrest.
Guilt, as we know, is an awful twist in your stomach that comes from the knowledge that you’ve hurt yourself or someone else.
You may struggle with continuous self-judgment and criticism of yourself because of something you did or fear of others finding out.
Guilt can waver around and hold you back even after others have forgotten or forgiven whatever happened.
But, even though guilt may seem like a terrible thing, it has a lot of power to help you acknowledge your actions and fuel your motivation to change your attitude. It might also direct you to think about what you could have done otherwise.
Let’s discuss how we can turn guilt into something positive that would bring success and happiness:
1. Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes or do things we aren’t proud of. As imperfect humans, it is impossible not to make mistakes. So don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes. You know you made a mistake and that feeling shows that you are a better person.
2. Forgive yourself. Without forgiving yourself, you can’t move past your guilt. It’s often easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves.
● Love yourself enough to forgive yourself for your mistakes. When you forgive yourself, you give yourself a chance to make things right without allowing that mistake to define who you are. Take responsibility for your actions.
3. Learn from the past. You can’t fix every problem or mistake you’ve made, even if those mistakes might have cost you a special relationship or close friend. Making amends is possible because you feel guilty about those mistakes.
● You’re likely to learn from that and not repeat those mistakes. But to learn from your mistakes, it’s also important to accept your loss and move on. Use that as an opportunity to do better and not guilt yourself over it.
● Ask yourself these questions: What led to the mistake? Examine triggers that provoked your actions. What did you learn about yourself through your actions? Did your actions point out any particular behaviors you can work on?
4. Replace negative self-talk with self-compassion. Making mistakes doesn’t make you bad. Guilt can incite some harsh self-criticism, but scolding yourself for your mistakes won’t improve things.
● No doubt you might have to face some consequences of your actions, but self-punishment often has an intense emotional toll on you. Instead of scolding yourself, imagine yourself as a friend in your situation and ask yourself what you would say to a friend in a similar situation.
● Perhaps you would be gentle, point out their good qualities, remind them of their strengths, and let them know how important they are to you. Similarly, extend that same positive talk to yourself. Have self-compassion, and do not tear yourself down.
5. You deserve kindness. Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations that we can’t control. You may have done all you could to change the outcome, but you couldn’t. It was beyond your control. You don’t have to beat yourself about it.
● Being kind and reminding yourself of your worth can boost confidence, making it easier to see your situation from a different perspective and avoid being shaken by emotional discomfort.
6. Remember, guilt can work for you. Sometimes, guilt can serve as a wake-up call to your actions. So, instead of allowing it to overwhelm you, try to use it to your advantage. Use it to shed light on areas of yourself that you feel need to change.
● For example, you could struggle with honesty, and you got caught in a lie.
● Maybe you have plans to help someone in need, but something always seems to get in the way. Noting these situations can set you on the path to amending your actions.
Give yourself credit and love and show kindness to yourself by accepting yourself and all your imperfections. Moving past your guilt involves being remorseful without allowing it to control your life, but by making amends and making things right.