Guilt is an emotion that can paralyze us if we allow it. Most of us feel guilty when we feel that we’ve made the wrong
decision or fail to meet our standards. Sometimes, it’s not rational to feel guilty because the outcome was out of our control. Yet, we still focus on our guilt. Here are some steps to help you overcome guilt—and use it as a springboard for action.
Complete Control Isn’t Possible. Multiple variables play into every decision we make. When my husband was injured, there was a lot of input that went into the decision for him to have surgery. Yet, the outcome wasn’t what we expected because control shifted to the surgeon during surgery. I had to learn to accept that I made the best decision possible with the input I had—and let go of my guilt. It was important for me to overcome guilt feelings. You can read more about how I refocused my guilt to take positive actions in my book, “The Dark Side of Injury.”
Perfection Doesn’t Exist. No matter how hard we strive, perfection is unattainable. If that’s your goal in your life or a game, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Given any situation, we all can make the wrong decision based on the information we have at hand. Think about it. I’ve done it, and you have too. The key is to recognize your mistake, take corrective actions and learn from it. Stop beating yourself up over something that is just part of life.
Repair the Damage. If you’re feeling guilty about making a tactless remark or an action that hurt someone, that can be productive guilt. Own up to your mistake and apologize. Then, take steps to overcome guilt feelings so you can move on. Productive guilt helps us grow and become better people because we learn from our mistakes. We learn to apologize, forgive others, and most importantly, to forgive ourselves. Learning to repair the damage and moving on is one of the key lessons of life.
When you’ve been through emotional turmoil, it’s difficult to let go of your guilt and start living again. But, you must overcome guilt to maintain your sanity.
Do you need help to let go of your guilt and jump start your life? Follow my journey or get helpful tools and checklists in my book, “The Dark Side of Injury.”