How to Cope with the Feelings of Guilt and Self Condemnation

How to Cope with the Feelings of Guilt and Self Condemnation

Guilt is the voice of our conscience, which is aimed at judging and correcting us when we do something wrong.

On this note, guilt can be regarded as a positive force that helps us improve on our general conducts and helps us show compassion and empathy to others around us.

But when the feeling of guilt pushes us into the mood of self-condemnation, it becomes a negative force.  Self-forgiveness, which is key to emotional relief, is very essential in this regard. When self-forgiveness becomes very difficult for one to do, it shows that one is nursing an unhealthy feeling of guilt.

So, in a nutshell, the feeling of guilt is good when it makes us correct that which we have done wrong. But it becomes a negative force when we allow that feeling to grow uncontrollably such that you now find it very hard to let go or forgive yourself.

It brings to mind the Bible story of Judas Iscariot and Peter. These two men did something wrong but ended up responding to their wrongs with a different attitude. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ and felt terrible about his actions. Peter denied Jesus and had a feeling of guilt, just like Judas Iscariot. But Peter was able to forgive himself and asked for forgiveness for all he did wrong. But Judas couldn’t forgive himself let alone asking for forgiveness for his actions.

He could not handle the terrible feeling of guilt, and he ended up committing suicide.

The same thing is still happening today. A lot of persons are killing themselves over what they did wrong. If only you knew they were not the first to commit that level of crime.

Some have done worse and are still living happily like they did nothing. I am not trying to promote crime here. I am only trying to encourage self-forgiveness and repentance. Excessive guilt is destructive. It is self-forgiveness that brings about repentance and not self-condemnation.

Guilt can bring about a consistent source of emotional pain if not put under control. Holding the feeling of guilt and self-condemnation against yourself over what you did wrong doesn’t necessarily erase the fact that you did something wrong. 

So, why not forgive yourself, ask for forgiveness, and make restitution where necessary so you can move on with your life?

The feeling of excessive guilt result in anger and resentment, not just towards you alone but also towards every other person around you. Guilt pushes one to a state of mind where he makes more mistakes. It triggers the draining away of one’s mental energy, depression, and illness. It is a destructive force that extinguishes your chances of a life of success, Joy, pleasure, significant accomplishments, and fulfilling relationships.

Guilt is that negative force that keeps one to remain stuck in his past and stops him from moving forward in life. Guilt, however, does not exactly mean the same thing as shame and inferiority complex. While guilt means feeling bad for what you have done, shame and inferiority complex means feeling bad for whom you are.

But when guilt goes out of control, it degenerates into shame and inferiority complex. When you keep beating yourself up for something you did wrong, you end up prolonging the damaging sense of guilt erodes your self-esteem completely.

How to Cope with the Feelings of Guilt and Self Condemnation

The following are some right steps you can take in order to make your sense of guilt a corrective rather than a destructive feeling.

1. Acknowledge your faults: Even though it is bad to allow your feeling of guilt go out of control, it is worse to deny the fact that you have done something wrong. 

Denying your faults will make you become hardened and unrepentant. So, it important you admit your errors. It is only when you are remorseful about what you have done wrong, you can seek forgiveness from yourself, and from those you may have hurt. 

2. Analyze your Primary intentions: There are some moves born out of good intention but turns out negative.

For example, a medical doctor who tries to help a sick person get well but mistakenly administered the wrong drugs that consequently, resulted to the death of the patient, did something very wrong but the right intention of curing the patient’s illness.

So, if you find yourself in such a situation, it is important you judge yourself based on your primary intention and not on the result of your actions. This is not to say you shouldn’t be remorseful and apologize.

3. Judge Your Inner Voices: You have to be extremely careful the inner counsel or voice you choose to listen to. 

Judge your inner counsels whether they are tended towards making amends or a correction for your mistakes and wrongs or whether they are aimed at putting you in the mood of self-destruction. 

A lot of persons have ended their own lives because they did something wrong. You must not allow this to happen to you.

4. Think of Ways to Make Amends: Rather than spending time ruminating over what you have done wrong, think of ways you can make amends for that which you have done wrong and avoid a reoccurrence. 

5. Evaluate the Standard with Which You Measure yourself: there are some mistakes we think we can never make until we make them. We tend to feel we are bigger than some mistakes.

You will be amazed by the kind of mistakes you are capable of making if given the opportunity. You are only a human being, don’t forget that.

Most people that have difficulty forgiving themselves when they do something wrong often over-estimate themselves. Take it easy on yourself.

You have to make a deliberate effort to forgive yourself. It is a shame holding an offense against yourself when the person you offended has already forgiven you.

It is important to note that when you hold an offense against yourself, you end up committing the same offense or making the same mistake over and over again.

Many have become serial killers because they failed to forgive themselves when they committed their first murder. 

Guilt is a bad and dangerous feeling, only those who have experienced it will know what I'm talking about. Always forgive yourself no matter what, don't let guilt consume you.

The best conquest you can ever achieve is self- conquest.

Give peace a chance in your heart.

Proud to be different

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