Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it
Dealing with Regret and Guilt
When dealing with regret and guilt it’s important to know where they come from. Regret and guilt is an emotion which is created because of an consistency between your values and your actions. Meaning whatever you did is so far off from what you perceive your personality to be that you can’t even accept it. These emotions are conjured up by your brain that simply isn’t true. I want you to fully realize that you have full control of your emotions and you have the power to stop feeling like this whenever you want. Regret and guilt is self-inflicted every single time.
To hammer this point home I’ll describe below a scenario where almost everybody will feel guilty about doing. Let’s see how we can reframe this situation into a more positive light which will generate more positive emotions.
Understanding Regret and Guilt
Let’s say you’ve been married for 10 years, you get into a fight and you get drunk at a bar to help drown your sorrows. One thing leads to another and you end up sleeping with another woman/man. You come home and you feel guilty about it. You can barely look your spouse in the eye. Your relationship is never the same because you are constantly trying to hide this and slowly the guilt is consuming you.
This person isn’t guilty because he or she slept with another person. This person is guilty because he doesn’t accept what happened. What he did was so far off from his personality that he can’t even accept it into his reality. When you were guilty have you ever asked yourself “Why did I do that?” or “I can’t believe I did that?”. When you are guilty often phrases like these are repeated in your head over and over again.
Lets examine this. You ask yourself “Why did I do that?” This is an attempt to rationalize what you’ve done. You are looking for an excuse to find a way in which what you did is congruent to your personality. You want to find some valid reason that you mind can accept so that you are not at fault. You’re basically hoping that when you find this excuse you can go “Oh okay, that makes sense actually. What I did didn’t seem so bad after all.” More times than not you end up searching forever.
How to Accept Yourself and Move On
The best thing to do is to just accept the fact that you are a human who made a mistake and learn from it. Instead of dwelling in the past with questions like “Why did I do that?” instead ask yourself “What can I do to make things better?”. This question does two things. First it’s a lot more positive. You’re asking yourself how you can make things better. In order to ask yourself this you also have to assume that you can make things better. Second of all you’re focusing on the things you can control. Instead of dwelling in the past which already happened start looking to the future and what you can do better either to fix the situation or improve upon yourself so it doesn’t happen again.
A true confident person knows how to deal with setbacks and doesn’t allow their mistakes to hold them back. This person accepts everything about himself or herself even the mistakes they made. So instead of beating yourself up for your setbacks embrace them as who you are, learn from them and focus on the things you can control.
Have a great day!
I think this is a great video on how to forgive yourself and how to overcome guilty feelings. I think you should check it out if you struggle with these feelings.