It can be hard to know how to deal with guilt but this advice works if it is your child feeling guilty or you feeling guilty.
1. Show you care
2. Ask for forgive
3. Avoid further mistakes
How to deal with guilt
Have you ever said something you shouldn’t? Have you ever done something you wish you wouldn’t have? Have you ever not done something you should have? Don’t worry, if you answered yes to one, two, or all of those questions, you are completely normal.
Guilty feelings occur as our conscience analyses our mind and waves the flag of disapproval. So, guilt happens, that’s a fact, but what’s the best way to handle it?
Caring is a good start
Thinking and caring about our wrongdoings is a sign of integrity, of good character. Having a conscience and paying attention to it helps us know wrong from right, how far is too far to go, and other limits it’s essential to understand to navigate life as the best person we can be.
So, when your conscience announces loud and clear, “What in the world were you thinking?” or “How could you have done that?” it initiates a sense of guilt. Being honest with ourselves and realizing our mistakes is the first step in dealing with guilt. We are not perfect, never will be, and all make mistakes from time to time, once we can admit that, dealing with guilt will be a whole lot easier.
Once we’ve admitted our mistake and/or wrongdoing, the next step is to forgive ourselves and move on. What was done was done, there’s nothing that can be done about it. We have to pick ourselves up from our sorry pity party of guilt and face the consequences of our actions, learn from our mistake or mistakes, and do whatever it takes to not repeat that same mistake or those mistakes in the future.
Ask for forgiveness
After we’ve moved ourselves on, the next step is to ask God or higher power (depending on your particular spiritual belief) for forgiveness and/or the person or people we have wronged for forgiveness as well. Those who have a connection with a higher power generally feel a sense of comfort when they admit their wrongdoings and make a request to be forgiven.
Asking those who you may have hurt through your actions or words is also a way to relieve yourself from guilt as you face that person or those people, admit your wrongs, and give them the power to choose to either forgive you or not. They will not always give it though and you have to be prepared for that.
Although this may be uncomfortable and difficult as you may feel very bad about what you have done, you feel much better and free your mind from the heaviness of guilt as you put the power you had over the person or people you wronged back in their hands.
Avoiding further mistakes
The final step in handling guilt is to keep tabs on what you’ve done wrong, what actions trigger guilt, and change them. Making mistakes is part of being human, but learning from our mistakes builds character. Building character helps us climb the ladder of potential and become the best person we can be. We’ll never be entirely guilt-free, but handling it appropriately makes life a much greater and fulfilling experience.
How to deal with guilt is a useful thing to know
Part of being human is to make mistakes and get things wrong sometimes and it is fine. It is normal. We have to make sure that we and our children know we can live with this and address it. have a look at my post on quotes on growth mindset for inspiration around how to keep growing and working with a state of imperfection.
Read more about this emotion here