“What do we need to overcome this week?” Guilt
“How can we overcome it?” Hope
(These words were chosen from the DIY Therapy Chart card decks)
Guilt is a tricky one…in my opinion, it is not an emotion but a state of being. It does involve feeling bad but for the most part it involves the belief that we have done something wrong. If this is indeed true, then we need to take action to make amends. Apologizing is one way, giving something is another – this will depend on the circumstances. Once we have done something constructive we can move forward and this elicits hope (e.g. a relationship may be saved). However, if we are blaming ourselves for deeds that are not our responsibility then we need to change the way we view the situation.
Some ways to tell if we are feeling unnecessary guilt:
- Are we taking on the responsibility of someone else’s actions? (e.g.”If I had listened to him, he would not have beaten me”).
- Was the situation beyond our control? (e.g. the untimely death of a loved one)
- Were we even present or aware of an event that had devastating results? (e.g. our house was burnt down or broken into).
When we really think about these situations there was nothing that we could do, and even if by some chance there was something that could have been done, the results may have been the same because we can’t control everything/one. Once this burden is lifted, we can feel better about ourselves, more hopeful about the future and our own ability to see situations with greater clarity.