9 Simple and Effective Tips To Overcoming Guilt

Posted on Posted in guilt, How, How to, Personal


Guilt is one of the most powerful, strongest and the most difficult emotions to overcome in life. No matter where we are, no matter what we do – there are these small things we would have felt guilty about. We are lucky to have been able to put a few behind us, but there are a few of them which continue to haunt us and sometimes they tend to do so terribly.

Before we start calling it names, guilt is a really good thing, it helps us to stay in the moral code we define for ourselves and to set up standards for our lives. It really hurts us when we slip from it and we wonder what to do about it. The first and foremost thing we try is to of course make amends and make it right. Sometimes we are not so blessed with that opportunity.

In such a case, here are 9 simple and effective tips to overcoming guilt in life.

Overcoming Guilt: Why, What and How?

board-776688_640As you know, we always start with questions in inspire99 because that is where we believe all the answers are.

Find out the exact reason about what is making you feel guilty. What is the emotion here – is it of regret, is it of something you did or did not do. What aspect of that emotion is this guilt digging up?

Not that we want you to feel bad about things any more, but we really want to know the exact reason for guilt. Sometimes we are so close to things that we tend to take up responsibility for things on which we do not really have any control. It helps to identify the exact reason and no better questions than the Why, what and How?!

Overcoming Guilt: Can you correct it?

After the first question, we look at the utility of it. We know that a mistake has happened, the question next is what to do next, what to do about it. The utilitarian theory talks about finding the solution to a problem and if you don’t find a solution – then what is the point worrying about it?

Theoretically it is all perfect, but we do know it is quite not the same, don’t we? It is not always the easiest thing to let go, especially if there is something you can do about it or at least for sure know that there is really nothing you can do about it.

Although it is very easy to use this as a good reason to escape from responsibility, I think it is a personal call and our personal standards which come to rescue here.

Overcoming Guilt: Apologise Genuinely

game-993498_640It is indeed ‘common sense’ to say you are sorry. Most times it so happens that people say they are sorry, but it is very easy to identify whether they truly mean it or not. It is far more annoying when people don’t mean what they say. Sometimes silence is better than a fake apology. We did talk about 8 ways to make your apology in our previous post which you might find helpful.

Yeah! An apology is not the easiest thing to do sometimes. It is because we have to accept that we were wrong and genuinely feel sorry for it and see if there was a way we could fix it. Sometimes we cannot find the solution, a better thing to do is ask them if there is a way we could make up for it. And more often than not, there usually is a way out :). If not at the first instance, maybe the second – people are usually more forgiving than we think.

Overcoming Guilt: Confess! 

I have heard – Confession is good for the soul. I am not too sure how soulful I am to talk about it, but I do realise that confession makes our heart lighter, it makes us feel responsible and grow beyond the mistake we have done towards the amends we can do towards it. Confession is not something we do as a fix, but sometimes it is a little selfish thing to do because we want liberation from our own internal moral policing which makes us feel wrong and horrible about ourselves.

I agree that it is not very easy to talk to people when you confess – do it any way. I know that it is easy to text about it, but then you will never know that the other person feels when they read it or know about it. Just because it is easy for us doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right thing nor does it mean that it will liberate us from the feeling of guilt.

Overcoming Guilt: Forgive yourself

i-beg-your-pardon-927749_640It is perhaps an easier thing to get pardon from the society, from the people we love and even the people we hate. They all satisfy the emptiness to a certain extent and so do we to them, but do we feel liberated? Do we feel a weight lifted off our shoulders?

Well, perhaps it takes a little more than that. For us, the guilt is not just because we wronged someone, it is also because we did not live up to our own standards. We have to however understand that it is alright to make some mistakes some times. It is not just about making a mistake, it is how we conduct ourselves after that. It is easy to be lost in beating ourselves up, but that gets us nowhere near the solution of overcoming guilt. The first step has to be forgiveness and forgiveness from self is quite an accomplishment indeed.

Overcoming Guilt: Do something to make the person feel better

Actions always speak louder than words. There are a hundred ways to show your love to someone than just telling that you love them. There are many ways you can show how important a person is for you and what that relationship means to you. It may seem like a cheesy way if you are looking at it as an opportunity to get forgiveness. It is not, it need not be, it is just an opportunity to show how much that person means to you and that is it!

Overcoming Guilt: Realize you are rectifying your mistake.

Acknowledge the fact that you are making an effort to set things right. You might have made a mistake at some point in your life. You are not that person anymore, you have grown from that, you have moved on from that.

Realize that for yourself, identify and acknowledge. There is no better apology than growth.

Overcoming Guilt:Remember there is no perfection- everybody makes mistakes

It is natural to err, it makes you more human and that is the way it is going to be. If you keep feeling bad for every imperfect thing you did in your life, you will keep feeling bad for the rest of your life. Forget the cloak of perfection, Man up to the mistake and figure a way out. Don’t dwell in the negative thought and its pain, no good is going to come out of it.

Overcoming Guilt: Make peace with yourself

dove-41260_640One of the reasons we rate guilt as a tough emotion is the fact that it keeps pushing us away from inside, it keeps resurfacing every now and then. Sometimes we may need to find ways to suppress it, sometimes to work with it and sometimes to appreciate it.

Most  importantly, it is about making peace with your own self, being ok with it, trying to find ways to do the same. For an error is an error and its consequences hurt you as long as you let them. Find a way to deal with it constructively and you have answered yourself the broader question!

These were our top tips to overcoming guilt, we would love to discuss further. Please do let us know your thoughts below.

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27 thoughts on “9 Simple and Effective Tips To Overcoming Guilt

    1. Thank you Kimat :). Very glad that you enjoyed the article, this was one write up which took a lot of time and something I had been waiting to do from a long time. Glad to know that it has taken a nice shape :).

      He he, I would be more than happy to 😀 ..

  1. you have through the whole thing quite comprehensively. well written 🙂 In some cases we have to find out if we have actually done something to feel guilty. Some people do a really good job of making you feel guilty for something you did not do. This usually happens in the case of abuse, emotional abuse, where the person is constantly put down and blamed for all that happens in the abuser’s life. At some point the other person begins to believe that it is the truth. These people can surely come out of the situation but with help. Guilt is a tough feeling to contend with, especially with people all around us who find joy in pointing out stuff to us, especially our mistakes. Guilt does weigh us down. But there is always a way… to tide over it. and you have given great suggestions 🙂

    1. Thank you Preethi :).. That’s so true, I have often ended up feeling extremely guilty for someone else’s mistake and after feeling so bad about it, the most they have done is shrugged their shoulders and offered a toothy grin!

      I think most people try to do that to avoid someone else pointing fingers at them, sometimes to mask in a huge amount of insecurity! I guess best thing to do is neglect them, see how best we can live up to our standards and start living life only on that as opposed to trying to please anyone else.. Extremely tough thing to do, I most certainly agree.. But I guess it is worth it!

      Thank you for the kind words Preethi, I kinda really enjoyed writing this article. So glad that you liked it.


    1. Thank you Yogesh, it really means a lot for us to read this comment and actually know that this piece has been helpful. The whole post was made with the single most important hope that it would be helpful and to know that it is a triumphant feeling indeed :). Thank you mate!

    1. True Maitreni, it certainly is one of the hardest things to overcome in life. Although it seems like an easy thing when people say forget it, sometimes we cannot change the past. But whether we can change it or not, we will have some remorse over it. Nothing is completely gone, I guess it is about how we handle it and learn to live with it so that it doesn’t create a huge emptiness within ourselves.

  2. Guilt can put a person under extreme psychological pressure. All the ways you’ve discussed are effective, and I think most importantly, a ‘sorry’ at times helps a lot… 🙂

    1. True Maniparna, sometimes the solution can be as simple as saying a sorry and sometimes it might be complicated. But it sure does know how to bring people down. I think for me self forgiveness is the most difficult aspect most times..

    1. Thank you Purba, I am happy if anything in this adds value and makes us think so that we can make those tiny shifts which can lead our lives the way we want to a better place 🙂

  3. One can’t live with guilt for a long time. It can be very stressful. As you have rightly said Vinay, it is better to make peace with oneself and move on with life.

    1. Thank you Somali. Yes, I think it eats us from within and makes life extremely hard on us. It is hard as it is and we really don’t want any additional problems in life, do we? 🙂

  4. Stressful is an understatement ! Guilt saps lfe out of us while we live on . Confession is the only way to get some relief . And to confess is tough, is another understatement 🙂 takes a tremendous effort and will power ! But , the only way 🙂

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