Mental Health Blog

How To Deal With Guilt

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Guilt is normal. Everyone at some point in their lives deals with or has dealt with guilt, remorse, and or regret. Guilt is something that humans have to make us understand when we have morally made a mistake, and need to readjust our actions to be a better version of ourselves. Now you may be wondering, how on Earth do we do this? Well with the three A’s Address, Analyze, and Act.

Address the guilty deed. Now you can just address the event or situation in your head, however, it tends to feel better when you say it out loud or when you write the situation down on paper. So let’s do an example: say I feel guilty for lying to a friend. My friend asked me to hang out with them. I didn’t want to hang out with them, I wanted to stay home and not go out so I lied and told my friend I had a family emergency. The next day they asked me if everything was ok, I lied again and said yes, my cat escaped, but we found her. Now because my friend asked me if I was ok It made me feel bad for lying not once, but twice. So what do I do?

Analyze the incident. Now that we have addressed the situation let’s analyze it with a journal entry. It can just be a small one (can be a large entry if you want). Now these three A’s can be really difficult to do, but the more we practice them the easier we can find out how to avoid falling into the same mistakes. So let’s try to answer these questions: What am I feeling? Why do I feel ___? Why did I really do what I did? Who was affected by this?  When does the feeling stop? Where do I go from here?

Analysis Example: 

Today I am feeling really guilty. I am feeling really guilty because I hurt someone close to me. I lied to someone I care about. I really had a bad day and have been worrying about my grades. Going out with a friend will take me away from my studies and I can’t fail another math test. I felt embarrassed to say that I’m failing math and so I lied to my friend. My friend and I were both affected by what I did. Along with our trust in each other. The guilt will stop when I come clean and apologize to them. I need to talk to my friend and explain what happened and why I did what I did. I have to allow them to be mad or annoyed but know that a true friend will eventually forgive me. I also should really look into finding a tutor or see if a friend can help me with my math problems.

Act On The Results. This stage is the hardest no one wants to really say they are sorry, but you have to be strong and explain what you did for some people this little bit of guilt will be forgotten over time, but for others, this could lead to serious large amounts of guilt in the future, when you make a mistake you should always try to fix it sooner than later we see how problems are dealt around us when we wait to find a solution. 

Simply coming clean to a friend is better than spending many days wondering if they will ever find out that you lied to them. Most people including myself who get away with a lie will more than likely do it again until they get found out so don’t let the guilt pile up just come clean in years you will laugh about how dumb it was to even want to hide it.