Guilt is assumed as the negative feelings we have about ourselves. It can be any form of self-rejection, hatred, feeling worthless, sinful, incompetence, or inferior to others. It is a feeling people have after doing something wrong, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Guilt is not considered as bad. But sometimes, the feeling of guilt exceeds the limit and can lead people to depression. It cannot be so easy to combat guilt when it is associated with depression.
It is easy for most of us to focus on the negative phase of life rather than the positive. If you are the one having some kind of guilt about something. The following 28 beneficial ways can help you combat guilt and help you deal with depression.
Make a clear understanding of guilt in order to combat guilt
1. Proportionate guilt
Proportionate guilt is like healthy guilt. Now you are thinking about what’s healthy guilt is? So let me explain here. Healthy guilt is about experiencing negative feelings when you did wrong to someone like you misbehaved; you hurt someone or cause problems. So it is good to take responsibility for that act.
It makes you aware of wrongdoings and forces you to do good. When you are aware of this guilt, then it will be easy to combat guilt. Realizing what you did, what you are doing, and what you have to do, keeps you safe from depression and negative consequences.
2. Disproportionate guilt
Disproportionate guilt, on the other hand, is irrational or misplaced. When you are experiencing negative feelings or guilt, you are not responsible and have no control over the situation. Suppose you get promoted, and your friend is suffering from some life crisis. You are happy for yourself and feeling bad for your friend. In this case, it is good to guilty about your happiness. Unhealthy guilt leads to various other problems like you cannot feel satisfied with yourself, feel depressed, thinking about others, and feeling disturbed in personal, social, and occupational life.
Please do not feel guilty about something that was not in your control, and you cannot take responsibility. To combat guilt, please try to look for positive things that help you stand by and make you grow in a good way.
3. Recognize triggers to combat guilt
Spotting emotional triggers that are the cause of a problem is the key to better handle the situation. When we can identify what is bothering us, we will not avoid situations and take them for granted. It is essential to pinpoint the time where you are experiencing any guilt or being worthless. Try to locate your inner voice logically.
It can alert us about our mental health and keep us more aware of ourselves and our surroundings. We cannot expose ourselves to bad situations further, and it helps us combat guilt that you are facing since.
4. Evaluate values, beliefs, and standards
You are judging yourself by evaluating values, beliefs, and standards. It is not good to try to live up to someone else’s expectations. Others’ desires and values have more to do with them. They may never approve, or you may sacrifice yourself and your happiness seeking approval. Decide which values you agree with. It can help out to combat guilt and depression.
5. Put things in perspectives
It is easy to think about something bigger than it is. As a human, we all tend to exaggerate or inflate negative and bad experience of life. Because of this, we tend to think and re-think about guilt. No matter how awful your situation is, someone else has been through the same thing.
To avoid and combat guilt, it is important to realize how your situation compares to rest of what you are doing and how bad it really is as compared to all good things in your life. It is suggested to take a more realistic view of any specific action. Start practicing gratitude for all necessities of life.
Bring yourself to be central
6. Let go of perfectionism
You might feel guilty because you hold yourself to unrealistically high standards. This can result in guilty thoughts about what you haven’t done or haven’t done well enough, even if they’re not your responsibility. At the same time, you overlook entirely what you have done well. Take time out to reflect and challenge your perfectionist behavior to refocus your standards more realistically. And remember – nobody is perfect!
7. Do reality checks
Start by listing what you can honestly control in a situation. Then list the things that you can’t. Keep in mind that you are only responsible for your actions, not for what others think or do. If your second list is longer, your guilt is likely unfounded and unproductive.
Disregard the things that you can’t control. Focus on the elements of the situation that you can do something about. Where appropriate, create a plan to address these.
8. Own your choices
One of the essential things to ask yourself when setting goals is if the outcome is within your control. That is because, if it’s not in your control, you can’t change it. This could help in combating irrational guilt and manage depression as well.
Owning choices is like owning your future. It allows you to control the areas of life you want to change. It gives you the power to determine the things that you want to change and to change them.
When you start having thoughts of irrational guilt, the first thing you should do is notice and acknowledge them. Talk to yourself about how they’re irrational, and they don’t make sense. Stop them as soon they pop up in your head.
The unrealistic guilt isn’t going to cause you any harm. Self-talk can also be positive. You have to force yourself to remember that the thoughts you’re having are irrational and they can’t harm you. When you start self-talking about your life decisions and circumstances, it will be easy for you to combat guilt, and you will no longer feel worthless.
10. Self-love meditation
It is easy to dwell on the feeling of worthlessness, especially when you have guilt. To combat guilt and feeling worthless, it is suggested to do meditation based on self-love. Now the question arises, how can you do it? Sit in a comfortable room, close your eyes. Continue to focus on your breath. On each inhale, think “I am worthy,” and on each exhale, “I am enough.” Let each inhale draw in self-love, and each exhales releases what is no longer serving you. Take a few minutes to breathe and recite this mantra internally. Notice how you feel as you say these words to yourself.
It enables you to build a strong relationship with yourself and show up fully in life.
11. Practice self-compassion
A lot of us go through some guilt at a sudden point in life. It is okay to have a difficult time; you can learn to lift yourself. Please show yourself some kindness and compassion. Please! Please! Do not be hard on yourself. If you keep criticizing and blaming yourself for every bad time, then you will never be able to move forward. It is important to be self-compassionate and practice it.
Self-compassion practice focuses on kindness, humanity, and mindfulness techniques. It enhances your mental health positively and brings life satisfaction. Self-compassion leads you to fight for mental problems and helps you combat guilt.
12. Practice positive affirmation
Practice saying a positive affirmation to yourself right after you wake up and are still in bed to start your day on the right note. Keep your affirmations in the present tense and use the first person. I am healthy and prosperous, and I accept all the great things coming into my life.
13. Find strength within
Feeling guilty can be toxic to your body, mind, and spirit. It blocks us from experiencing growth and transformation and can keep us stuck in the past.
14. Don’t be hard on self
Start with being gentle with yourself, and you’ll learn to be gentle to others. Be gentle with others, and you’ll learn to be gentle to yourself. Guilt isn’t real; it’s only an emotional response, and often an irrational one. Guilt can’t exist where there is compassion because compassion is understanding and non-judgmental. Guilt may have its place in courtrooms, but I believe in compassion and gentleness, starting with yourself. You can combat guilt when you started being gentle toward yourself.
15. Be assertive
It’s possible that you feel guilty about a situation because someone else is unaware of the unrealistic pressures you put on you. It can also be possible that a person may be purposely manipulating you to make you feel guilty to control your behavior. Stand up for yourself in these situations and, if you’re certain that you’re not in the wrong, get your message across confidently and assertively.
Take worthy measures to combat guilt
16. Forgive yourself
It is important to realize that you can forgive yourself. Even if you know you were at fault when you could forgive others, why don’t you forgive yourself?
You may feel regretful, but by remaining compassionate with yourself, you can accept the situation. Remind yourself that it is okay to make mistakes sometimes. You can combat guilt by taking the first step toward forgiveness.
17. Reflect on the betterment of yourself
If you’ve hurt someone with your actions, think about the lessons that the consequences can teach you. Let’s say you stole something from a friend. Even if you return whatever you stole and apologize, your friend might still decide that they no longer want you in their life. The lesson here might be that just because you have an impulse to take something that doesn’t belong to you, you don’t have to act on that impulse. It might cost you a good friendship.
The next time you feel an impulse to do something that feels wrong, remember the consequences of your past behavior. Reflecting on the lessons you’ve learned can help you do things differently.
18. Think of ways for amendment
The simplest way to make an amendment is to apologize. Try to avoid giving justification or covering up yourself. It is better to understand others and don’t go back to details. By thinking about more ways and try to implement those ways, make you get out of that guilt, and it will be easy for you to combat guilt and depression associated with it.
19. Apologize if necessary
Do you feel responsible for making other person hurt? Go to that person and straightforwardly say sorry to him/her. Acknowledge the pain, anger, or frustration that you have caused. Sometimes, the other person does not accept your apology at the moment, so it is better to acknowledge it and take responsibility for the action to lighten up the situation.
20. Look for new possibilities
Stepping ahead is good for combat guilt or action that happened in the past. Step away from your feelings of guilt and expand your horizon. It is not something that you are ignoring your faults.
It’s like you are putting yourself into a solution-focused approach. You can reframe your perspective of the situation to combat guilt and feeling of worthlessness.
21. Accept and move on
The point here is highlighting the fact that ask yourself first, have you done everything that can amend your guilt? Then go ahead and let the guilt go. Focus on future productive activities. Accept your situation and move on to life.
22. Celebrate small victories
Be proud of every small achievement you make. Even apologizing for something you’ve done wrong is an achievement in itself. Commend yourself for being brave enough to apologize despite the shame.
23. Don’t hesitate to share
When suddenly struck with guilt, it’s often helpful to talk with other people about your feelings. Have a chat to close friends or family members about what happened and how you feel. Who knows, they may even provide you with an alternate view of the situation that you never even considered. Maybe all you need is another opinion or perspective on the situation. Perhaps you’re simply not seeing things in the right context.
24. Change guilt into gratitude
You may see guilt as a negative emotion, which leads to other negative emotions. But you can also try turning guilt into gratitude. Studies show that guilt can help you do morally right things. Guilt can make you honest. So whenever you are feeling guilty, try to look at it positively. Learn to appreciate that guilt because it will help you grow as a person.
25. Incorporate spiritual practice
Doing something useful can help you stop feeling guilty. This can be something like helping out in the community or volunteering.
26. Practice mindfulness
The practice of mindfulness can help you gain perspective into your doings. It can also help you give yourself a break from the past and future. Take a moment to breathe and get lost in feeling your body moves.
It gives you insight into the present and letting for the past to help in combating guilt.
Counseling for guilt can make it easier to come to terms with guilt that you feel is justified. Through sharing your inner thoughts and feelings safely with a counselor, you can find acceptance for what you did or the necessary courage to make amends.
28. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) offers constructive steps a person can take to deal with guilt effectively. The therapy focuses on managing guilt by normalizing it. Various behavioral and cognitive strategies are accompanied in this therapy.
The feeling of guilt and being worthless is not as simple as we assume it to be. If we do not notice on triggering factors throughout life, we will not be able to get rid of some unconscious bad doings. To combat guilt and feeling of remorse, the suggestions will help you grow up and look forward to your life optimistically and confidently.
Moving forward with Psychotherapy
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Alternatively, if you need to seek psychotherapy, be sure to check out ahealo.com. Ahealo is an online psychotherapy platform with a diverse range of psychotherapists for many different fields of mental challenges. Ahealo provides ePsychotherapy at an affordable price, confidential, convenient (through a web page 1-1 private video call), and at your comfortable schedule.
With these options, we believe you guilt can be resolved soon.
Take care and stay well.