Overcoming Persistent Guilt

It is easy to become attached to feelings of guilt, even over small things. This feeling of guilt is actually usually damaging and unhelpful. We are not saying we should ignore our conscience – far from it. What we are trying to do is let go of unnecessary feelings of guilt and move on with our life.

Learn From Mistakes and Move On.

If we have done something wrong, we need to be aware of it. It is only when we acknowledge our mistakes and faults that we can make progress. However, once we have acknowledged our fault, the important thing is to learn from it and resolve to avoid repeating it in the future. By harbouring feelings of guilt, we do not help the situation in anyway. When we feel guilty, we just make ourselves unhappy and when we are unhappy we are rarely able to help others.

Avoid Judging Others

It is an irony that if we keep judging others, we are more prone to guilty feelings ourselves. If we are always criticising others for being late; when we are late ourselves, we start to feel guilty. Judge less and you will be much happier. Avoid feeling morally superior to others and you will be less prone to feeling guilty yourself. Learn to live in the heart where we feel oneness with others rather than separation.

Think of the Positive

The best antidote to feelings of guilty is to focus on the good things we are now doing. Whatever has happened in the past, there is always some positive contribution that anyone can start making now. If we throw ourselves into helpful, selfless activities, how can we retain feelings of guilt?

Keep A Sense of Balance

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. We do many good things, but our mind remembers the one thing we did wrong. Just because we said one inappropriate thing in front of our boss, it is not a reason for our life to collapse under feelings of guilt. If you have done one bad thing wrong remember the positive contributions you have made recently.

Guilt Doesn’t Rectify Any Situation.

When we harbour feelings of guilt, we have to bear in mind, this will not do anything to change what has gone on before. Life will be improved by a positive attitude. Feeling sorry for ourselves does not help.

Say sorry Once – Sincerely.

If we have done something wrong and hurt someone’s feelings it is important to apologise. This should be done once and it should be sincere. But, if we have apologised once, that is sufficient. Often people repeatedly apologise, but that can just become irritating. They keep apologising because they still feel guilty and are hoping to receive reassurance.

Our conscience is invaluable. But, persistent feelings of guilt are not. Don’t be weighed down by past mistakes; keep looking to the future.


Photo Kedar, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

6 thoughts on “Overcoming Persistent Guilt”

  1. I tend to carry a lot of damaging guilt. Lately I’ve found myself letting go of it more and it feels great! Nice post Tejvan 🙂

  2. On a related note, I used to punish myself whenever I felt guilty for doing or not doing something. Nowadays I choose the opposite and do things that feed my soul.

    Guilt is punishment enough, why do I need to further drain my resources to move on by punishing myself? Time for rest and reward is not just for achievements and celebrations. Actually, you need to treat yourself even nicer than usual, precisely when you make a mistake or experience a failure.


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