A good indicator of how good a person is is their propensity to feel guilt. Someone without guilt is usually selfish and malicious. So there is good in feeling guilt. Similarly, guilt is such an unpleasant emotion that it usually pushes us to do the right thing and correct a bad act. However, feeling guilt all the time is suffocating and even deleterious to our health. How can we get rid of this feeling that in some cases spoils our lives?
Learn Not To Feel Guilty
Most of the time, we have good reasons to feel guilty. Our conscience “speaks to us” and tells us to act differently. In other cases, it is not really our conscience that is expressing itself but rather the consequence of low self-esteem. It is therefore necessary to gain confidence and self-esteem to eradicate these hints of guilt.
Fighting Low Self-Esteem
For a variety of reasons, we may have a low self-image. Childhood is by far the biggest culprit. Reproachful parents or a toxic environment in general can undermine the morale and self-esteem of a child and future adult for a long time.
Recreating One’s Identity
To overcome this unpleasant situation, you must learn to recreate yourself, to love who you are. The most direct way is to think about the person you would like to become (you can be inspired by existing people) and act accordingly. The more you act like the person you want to become, the more you will reinforce the belief that you are that person and thus be able to boost your confidence. Changing your self-perception takes time and other methods can be used if this guilt problem is deeper than it seems.
Some Cultures Are More Guilt-Ridden
Some religions or cultures tend to develop more or less guilt in their members. You might try reading philosophers and texts that explain the religious foundations of your culture in order to understand the inner workings of them and to better distance yourself from them.
Finding A Middle Ground
A little bit of guilt is never a bad thing because it allows you to connect with others and simply understand them. Being aware that guilt is not always good also allows you to distance yourself from it.
Guilt As A Learning Path
There are some lessons that can only be learned the hard way. It is often said that there are 3 ways to learn. The first is to learn from the mistakes of others, the second is to learn by your own reflection and the third is to learn by your own actions. The second way is the best. I would be tempted to say that there is a fourth way to learn, and it consists in making a mistake (third way) and then rehashing in one’s mind one’s mistake (because of guilt). This fourth way is the most uncomfortable, it is almost a torture in some cases. But, alas, there are some lessons that can only be learned this way.
The Danger Of Living Without An Ounce Of Guilt
As we have seen, living with guilt is a relative suffering. Yet this suffering is necessary to understand the world around us. Imagine a world where no one felt guilt. It would probably be an unlivable world because it would be populated by cynical and selfish people. In fact, if guilt disappeared, life in society would simply not be possible. We can say that guilt is what makes us particularly human and social, even if it is a feeling that seems to be felt by other species (e.g. dogs).
What Lessons Can We Learn?
– Guilt is not always bad
– You can use guilt to your advantage to be a better person and achieve your goals
– Guilt is a feeling that allows us to relate to others
– Guilt is destructive when it is too strong and is linked to low self-esteem
– You can combat low self-esteem by improving your self-image
– Investing in your identity is one of the best ways to free yourself from guilt