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How To Deal With Guilt And Move Forward

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Discover practical strategies on how to deal with guilt and move on. Our blog offers valuable insights and techniques to help you move forward, nurture healthy relationships, and reclaim your power. Explore a guilt-free mindset and learn how to let go, heal, and create a life filled with self-compassion and resilience.


quote about guilt

My Guilt Journey: Insights and Lessons Learned

I've not always been the most self-aware of people. I've got a lot better over the years but there have been times when I've been a real shit.... Partly because I've been selfish but mostly because I have at times been completely oblivious to my own actions and behaviour.

Luckily I have good friends that call me out on it and who don't let me get away with anything (I'm kinda glad about that)..... It not only gives me a chance to make amends but it also keeps me on the right path by helping me to become a little more self-aware of myself.

being held accountable for you actions

The guilt though, that's still there and it can stay with me way after everyone involved has moved on so for this blog I thought we'd explore that. We'll talk about what guilt is and how to deal with guilt and move forward..... so If that seems like something you might want to read more about this is for you 😊


Understanding The Types Of Guilt

Guilt is a complex emotion and understanding its many facets is crucial to navigating and managing one's emotions. Guilt can manifest in many different forms and be brought on by a variety of causes. In this chapter, we will start exploring the many types of guilt and how they differ from each other.

Types of Guilt

Guilt is normally categorized into various types depending on the nature of the event.

The most common are:

Survivor guilt: This type of guilt is experienced by individuals who have survived a traumatic event where others did not. They experience guilt because they were able to live through the experience while others did not.

Absentee guilt: This type of guilt is experienced by individuals who feel guilty for not being present or available for someone who needed them in a time of crisis.

Shame guilt: This type of guilt is often associated with feelings of shame and embarrassment. It occurs when an individual feels as though they have failed to live up to societal or personal standards.

Remorse guilt: This type of guilt is characterized by feelings of regret and remorse over a past action or decision.

Induced guilt: This type of guilt comes from external pressures, such as a parent or partner who constantly criticizes or accuses.


The Impact Of Guilt: Unraveling The Effects Of Good And Bad Guilt

Good and bad guilt are two different ways of experiencing this complex emotional state (Biddle, Donovan, Sharp & Gunnell, 2015) Good guilt, sometimes referred to as healthy guilt, occurs when an individual recognizes they have done something wrong and takes responsibility for their actions, leading to a desire to make things right. In this sense, good guilt can motivate an individual to take actions that align with their values, such as making amends or improving their behaviour in the future.

On the other hand, bad guilt, sometimes referred to as toxic guilt, is marked by excessive and persistent feelings of guilt that can consume a person's thoughts and emotions. This type of guilt can arise from unrealistic or unachievable expectations, feeling responsible for things outside of one's control, or being unable to forgive oneself for past actions or decisions. Bad guilt can lead to negative consequences, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

good and bad guilt

The key difference between good and bad guilt is the extent to which it motivates positive change versus causing harmful effects. Good guilt can be a healthy part of emotional growth and learning from mistakes, while bad guilt can be detrimental to a person's well-being and inhibit their ability to move forward. Understanding the difference between these two types of guilt is essential for managing and coping with the complex emotions that come with this common feeling.


Understanding The Causes Of Guilt: Unveiling The Origins And Triggers

Guilt is a complex emotion that arises when you feel remorse about something you have done or failed to do. It is a common emotion that most people will experience at some point in their lives. Understanding the causes of guilt is the first step in dealing with this emotion.

the book of knowledge

Guilt can have various origins and triggers (Sirois, 2017), which we will discuss below

Childhood experiences: Many people develop feelings of guilt due to their upbringing. This could include being raised by overly critical parents or experiencing childhood trauma. Childhood experiences can shape an individual's beliefs, values, and attitudes, which can lead to feelings of guilt later in life.

Personal values: Guilt can also arise from violating one's personal values and beliefs. For example, if an individual values honesty and integrity but tells a lie, they may experience feelings of guilt.

list of personal values

Unmet expectations: Guilt can also arise from unmet expectations. When someone fails to meet their own expectations or those of others, they may feel guilty for letting themselves or others down.

Societal norms: Guilt can also be triggered by societal norms and expectations. People often feel guilty for not conforming to society's expectations, even if those expectations do not align with their personal beliefs.

Trauma: Trauma can also be a significant cause of guilt. Survivors of traumatic events may feel guilty for not being able to prevent or stop the event, even though they couldn't have done anything to prevent it.

Understanding the causes of guilt is crucial. It allows you to help clients recognize the source of their guilt and develop strategies to overcome it. These strategies may include positive affirmations, restructuring beliefs and values, self-forgiveness exercises, and other positive reinforcement techniques.


Coping With Guilt: Practical Techniques And Tools

I think we all do things that we shouldn't at times so maybe guilt might be an appropriate response sometimes but at some point we have to move on and what I've learnt is there are some practical day-to-day things we can do to help us with that (Adams, 2017).

Here are some that have worked for me.

a book about letting go of guilt

Identify the cause of your guilt: Understanding the origin of your guilt can help you recognize the behaviour or action that caused it. Reflect on what caused you to feel bad. Was it something you did or didn't do? Once you've identified the behaviour, you can begin to make amends.

Practice self-compassion: Being kind to yourself is crucial when dealing with guilt. Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and one mistake doesn't define who you are. Practice self-compassion by reframing negative thoughts and acknowledging that you're human.

self care

Take action to make amends: If your guilt is justified, take action to make amends. Whether it's apologizing, offering a kind gesture, or making a change in behaviour, taking action can help alleviate feelings of guilt.

Forgive yourself: Forgiving yourself is an essential step in dealing with guilt. Holding onto guilt can be counterproductive and can hinder your personal growth. Recognize that you've taken responsibility for your actions, and you've made amends. Forgiving yourself allows you to move on and grow from the experience.

Seek support: Talking to a supportive friend, family member, or therapist can help ease feelings of guilt. Seek out someone who can offer guidance and a listening ear.


Final Thoughts

final blog image with the blogger and his final thoughts

Dealing with guilt can be challenging, but by practising self-compassion, acknowledging your mistakes, and taking action to make amends, you can overcome feelings of guilt and find peace. Remember, you're human, and it's okay to make mistakes, forgive yourself, and move forward.

As always I hope you enjoyed the blog and found it useful.

I would love to hear from you, so please leave your comments, questions and feedback below 😊


More More More

If you want to learn more about guilt and better ways to deal with it I've listed a few websites that I've found that you might like.

Guilt Free Mom: Guilt Free Mom is a website dedicated to supporting moms in overcoming guilt and finding balance in their lives. It addresses common guilt triggers experienced by mothers and provides strategies for self-care, setting boundaries, and managing expectations. This website describes itself as "the home for guilty pleasures, confessions, and self-forgiveness." It's a platform where people can share their experiences with guilt, anonymously or publicly, and connect with others who may be going through similar situations.

Verywell Mind: This site covers a range of topics related to mental health, including guilt and shame, and offers practical tips for managing these feelings.


If you're like me and enjoy doing your own deep dive into things I've placed the google search engine below so you can, if you wish do the same.





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