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Psychology

Miss shalu vashisht
What to do when I feel guilty ????

 
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The best answer I can think of is from a story in the Bible, the story of the prodigal son. (Luke 15: 11 - 32)

The boy did something very wrong - fought with his father, demanded his share of the wealth and with that money went away, led a life of worldly, selfish pleasures squandering all the money. Only when all the wealth was gone did he relize his foolishness. Though he tried to get some job and hired himself to a farmer that couldn't alleviate his poverty.

That was when he really began to feel guilty. He immediately returned to his father. He confessed he need not be accepted as a son but as one of the servants. But the father was overjoyed that the son came back; welcomed him affectionately as son and celebrated the return.

When we feel guilty we go back to our father - God - and humbly confess and promise not to do such foolish acts again.

The prodigal son never even dreampt of going back to his foolish adventures again. Even so once we reconcile to our Father we should never repeat such folly.

Mr Joseph Vempeny India
(Expert Rating 2831)
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Guilt is the minds way of teaching itself not to do bad things. You do something good or exciting, your brain makes you feel happy to encourage you to do it more. You do something harmful, your brain makes you feel pain to encourage you to avoid it in future. And if you do something bad, your brain makes you feel guilty to encourage you not to do it again.

Without knowing the details of why you feel guilty, more advice is tough. The first thing I'll say is to examine your motivations and actions around why you feel guilty. Was what you did necessary? Could you have avoided it? Did you have a good reason? Was it understandable in the circumstances? I know a lot of people who beat themselves up over accidents, or who were in a bad state of mind when they did something bad, and in either case it helps to realise that, really, what was done was understandable.

Another obvious way to help is to resolve to make up for it. You believe you did something which you shouldn't have done, which made the world a slightly worse place either for someone else specific, or for the world in general. Maybe you just feel you let yourself down. In any case, identify where harm was caused, and do something to help. It doesn't need to be "undoing the damage", this might not even be possible, but simply doing something good will remind you that you can, and have, also had positive effects on the world around you.

On a pure scientific level, any time you're feeling bad for whatever reason, doing something to release endorphins will make you feel better. You can check online for ways to do this but physical activity is one of the most effective and healthiest... just having a jog, going dancing, or something else can definitely help. I also find doing something creative can have the same effect; if you sew or draw, if you make videos or write, or even if you just enjoy cooking, these are all activities where you can look down when you're done and see something you made at the end, and that's a good feeling.

The final answer I have to give is... Just accept the feeling. As I said above, often people feel guilty for reasons that aren't really their fault... but perhaps in your case you were. You shouldn't beat yourself up about it forever, and indeed even when you feel better you should still resolve not to do it again if possible, but feeling a bit guilty for a little while is natural. You do the bad thing, you get the bad feeling, and next time round you're that less likely to do it again.

Mr Adrian Wood UK
(Expert Rating 1870)
   Member has an expert rating of 1000+
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