Guilt is the great paralyzer. Instead of taking action quickly to correct and resolve a mistake, guilt might prevent you from doing so. Everyone makes mistakes. There is no shame in that because we are all human. What truly matters is how you take action to clean up the mess. While feeling guilty after a mistake is natural, you must not allow your regrets to paralyze you from taking corrective measures. Yet this is no easy task. How then can you manage guilt better?
1. Understand, Accept and Forgive Yourself
Every action has a reason behind it. On hindsight, that reason might not seem logical or wise. But in the heat of the moment, it may have been the best available option to you. In any case, few people make good decisions in the midst of chaos. So do not blame yourself too greatly. The burden of guilt is heavy to bear. Instead, understand why you did what you did, forgive yourself and let go.
2. Learn from Mistakes
It is however not enough to forgive yourself and do nothing more. You also have to learn from your mistakes to avoid repeating them. Nothing changes if you keep on making the same mistake and feel guilty about it. If what you feel is genuine remorse, you must know why and where you went wrong so that you do not commit the same error again. This allows you to move on and grow as a person.
3. Take Action and Correct the Mistake
Finally, you must take action to correct your mistake if possible. Guilt by itself changes nothing. If there is a way to make amends, it will be prudent to do so quickly. If there is nothing that you can do directly, then find or create another way to atone for your mistake.
By channeling your guilt in a productive way, it makes it easier for you to let go and move on. After all, if you have done all you can and more to make amends and atone for your mistake, what else is there to do? From here on, you must forgive yourself, let go and move on.
As we begin this New Year, let us start afresh. If there are some unresolved issues that you feel guilty about, take action as best as you can to resolve it. When you have done that, try to let go and put it behind you. If you should make mistakes this year, do not allow your guilt to paralyze you. Instead, take corrective action, forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes. This is the best way to manage guilt.
What are your thoughts on guilt? How do you manage guilt personally? Do share your thoughts and comments below!