Letting go of guilt: 5 steps to more lightness

Reading time 7 minutes
Letting go of guilt: 5 steps to more lightness

Late at the office again - and already you feel your guilt grumbling inside you. The project has failed. Surely you're responsible for that, too. And the fact that you didn't get up to go jogging is clearly your fault. Some people seem to be able to deal with guilt easily, but for you it's a burden.

You are ashamed of mistakes, have Fear from negative consequences. Where do these constant feelings of guilt come from? In fact, they originally serve to motivate you. They are supposed to drive you to be good and thus avoid guilt. Sounds simple, but it's not.

What is behind feelings of guilt?

Tormenting guilt weakens you and gnaws away at your Self-confidence. You see your mistakes particularly clearly. Maybe you didn't perform properly or didn't stick to the usual rules. Rules of the game held. Self-reproach comes automatically.

However, living with feelings of guilt is quite normal. This seems to be anchored in the Western world. The moral rules that not only religions prescribe are responsible for this. Often the feeling of guilt is a kind of signpost that pops up only in retrospect. You act selfishly, get the last coffee - and can't be happy about it. You snatch someone's parking space and get a guilty conscience when you see how the other driver is driving. unsafe maneuvered into the next gap.

But how bad is your "misdeed" really? Are you perhaps just driving yourself unnecessarily crazy? You have a right to certain freedoms and don't always want to abide by the unwritten laws. Besides, the feelings of guilt make it difficult for you to say no. But in doing so, you make yourself manipulable.

Feelings of guilt: the cause often lies in childhood

Feelings of guilt in childhood are often caused by strict parenting, emotional manipulation and the feeling of constantly doing something wrong. These early experiences shape deep-seated feelings of guilt that can persist into adulthood. Other causes include a fundamental anxiety, the feeling of not conforming to the norm and low self-esteem, which leads to a heightened sense of guilt. Sometimes unexpected events such as illness or the death of loved ones also trigger feelings of guilt, even if the person is not directly responsible.

Either way, it is important for you to recognize the cause through reflection and to work through and heal the formative experience. This is the only way to reduce the burden of guilt.

get rid of guilt

5 steps to overcome your feelings of guilt

When someone says: "I always feel guilty", this is a sign of Inferiority complexes. Gambled secretly, not sufficiently prepared - there are many reasons to reproach yourself. But you're only blocking yourself.

What can you do about guilt? The following five steps will help you overcome your guilty conscience:

  1. Turn your regrets into resolutions: You may have done something wrong, but you can learn from it.
  2. Admit your perceived weaknesses - this is an important relief.
  3. Make up for your mistakes to feel better about yourself.
  4. Forgive yourself.
  5. Look ahead and don't carry too heavy a burden of guilt.

Important questions for coping with feelings of guilt

To overcome your feelings of guilt, a little work is needed. Only with the necessary reflection can you look at the feeling of guilt objectively. Are you really solely responsible? What do you feel guilty about? These and other questions will help you get rid of the guilt.

Don't judge yourself too harshly, but think carefully about what's going on. Did you do or refrain from doing something specific that is now weighing you down? Are your demands on yourself perhaps too high? Or did you hurt another person? Could you have acted differently? What good would that have done? Did you fail to meet someone else's values or your own standards?

Ultimately, you will find yourself through these considerations. In the best case scenario, you will realize that you have remained true to your own values - even if others may be annoyed by this. The next question is: How do I get rid of feelings of guilt? You may need to apologize for your behavior or make amends. You yourself should also forgive.

Every person has his problems and weaknesses: You can't be perfect. Maybe you acted rashly and hurt someone. But you can't let that make you permanently crazy. Instead, look ahead. It is no use to be angry about old mistakes forever. Do not remain in the energy in which Past hang. At some point it is time to let go of the old, accept what is, and look positively into the future.

The most common causes of guilt

Some people develop feelings of guilt quickly in childhood; for others, it is only through later events that they become more sensitive and more conscious of guilt. Often the feelings of guilt are based on the following Causes:

  • A very strict upbringing and mental Manipulation give children the feeling that they are constantly doing something wrong. Through such childhood experiences, the feelings of guilt manifest.
  • A fundamental fearfulness quickly triggers negative feelings and increases the tendency to feel guilty.
  • Those who do not conform to the usual norm usually feel compelled to defend themselves. This is typical of a basic sense of guilt.
  • Assigning blame increases the negative emotions.
  • A small Self-esteem leads to complexes that are often accompanied by feelings of guilt.

Sometimes an unexpected event is the trigger for feelings of guilt. If someone in your family becomes seriously ill or even dies, it throws you completely off course. An accident or other bad experiences can also upset your feelings. You may feel guilty, even if you can't help it.

Say no without feeling bad - with these 7 tips

say no without guilt, how does that work? If you refuse a request or an order, you quickly feel bad. It sounds like you're being selfish or lazy. Your help is needed, so you agree - whether you have time or not.

Most of the time, it's the desire for recognition that makes you say yes. The problem is: some people take advantage of that. They ask for favors and pout when you even think about it. But you should, or it will go on and on. Don't get caught off guard or emotionally blackmail. Be aware that the supplicants do not necessarily use such means consciously. Pressure, sympathy tour or flattery - you should free yourself from this. To Avoid stressHere are seven tips to help you do just that.

  1. Give yourself some time to think about it and use it.
  2. Think about the reasons you want to say no.
  3. Stick to your decision and explain it in clear terms.
  4. Set a certain Body language one: Look your conversation partner in the eye and tighten your shoulders.
  5. Remember that a rejection is not a bad thing. Stay friendly and don't let yourself be pressured.
  6. Keep your priorities in mind. What you do is ultimately your decision.
  7. Pay attention to yourself and your stress signals.

What's so difficult about saying no?

It sounds so simple: say no. But you often get in your own way. Why is that? You're probably putting your own wishes second. You don't express them so as not to provoke an argument. Then there's the Need for harmony. If you say no, your colleagues might get angry with you. Your friends won't like you anymore and your family will sulk. But that's not true as long as you make time for the people who are important to you. Learn to say no, and strengthen your self-confidence and your resilience.

Getting rid of feelings of guilt: Coaching as a remedy

First of all, we often talk about getting rid of things. But you can't actually get rid of or fight something. In that case, you're engaging in pure repression. The magic word is acceptance and acceptance. Accept what is!

Coaching can be an effective way of overcoming feelings of guilt by individually addressing the causes and personal history. A coach helps to identify negative beliefs, question them and replace them with positive ones. This process helps to strengthen your own perception and self-esteem, which is crucial to freeing yourself from feelings of guilt and finding more ease in life.

Physical symptoms of guilt: When guilt makes you sick

In psychology, feelings of guilt are highly complex, internal experiences. The stress and negative feelings make it difficult to live a relaxed life. This can result in mental illnesses such as Anxiety disorders or develop depression. The fact that feelings of guilt can make people ill is also reflected in physical symptoms:

  • Stomach and intestinal complaints,
  • Sweating,
  • strong blushing,
  • Malaise.
  • Typical psychological consequences are self-reproach, doubt and remorse. They trigger feelings of anxiety and a strong inner restlessness out. Self-harm and excessive aggression are also possible.

How to learn how to let go of guilt

You want to let go of your feelings of guilt? Respectful interaction with other people and with yourself will help you to do so. In this way, you will get to know the positive side of guilt: This consists of learning from past mistakes so that you don't repeat them. In addition, the guilty conscience motivates you to act more morally. Go one step deeper: Is there an event in your childhood that still affects you today? An experience for which you may even feel responsible to this day?

Coming to terms with feelings of guilt is a Learning process. However, if the feelings of guilt are strong, you need help. A Coaching can be a way to get more to the root cause and help you get more peace of mind about the issue.

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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