5 Ways to Deal with Overwhelming Feelings of Guilt
For most of my life I have struggled with emotional regulation. A long battle with chronic depression often has me struggling. Though these days the struggle is not as deep as it was once upon a time when I did not think I was going to survive it. Sadly too many people are struggling in silence and this leads to even more problems. I hope that you have someone you can feel comfortable talking to about your feelings.
One of the feelings I often battled when depressed was guilt. More times than not I was feeling guilty about things that I should not have been. It was a waste of my energy and drew me further down the rabbit hole of mental illness.
Guilt can be a good thing when it helps us to learn and grow from our mistakes. It can be harmful if we stay stuck in that emotional state. It is important to note if the guilt you are feeling has to do with a situation that you can control or not. If you cannot control it then it is even more important to not let the guilt control or consume you.
Moms and Dads often feel guilty for not being able to do everything or be everywhere. That is not realistic. Just a few days ago I wrote a note in my day planner ” I feel like I am not doing enough. I feel like I can’t manage all I am trying to do. ”
Reading that should tell me that I am setting my self-expectations too high and I need to be more realistic and prioritize.
I hope that I can share with you some ways to deal with those overwhelming feelings.
1)First off, we need to acknowledge that guilt is just that a feeling. It is not necessarily a fact. Sometimes we feel guilty over things that we should not feel guilty for. We need to ask ourselves what is making me feel guilty? Is there anything I can do about this situation?
The big question to ask is if feeling guilty is justified or not. Did we do or say something that we feel guilty for? In that case maybe we should make restitution if the situation requires it. I however am going to be focusing in this blog post about feeling guilty when we have nothing to feel guilty for.
2) Express yourself Journaling can be a helpful tool to express yourself. Journaling does not have to be just words on paper. You can express yourself in your journal through art. Or just express yourself through movement like dance or your voice by singing and praying. Just don’t let things stay bottled up inside you. It will eat away at you and continue to make you feel worse. This I can guarantee you. I learned the hard way through experience.
3) Counter those self-blaming or guilty voices in your head with a positive self-affirmation. You will see these voices and negative thoughts raring up less often.
4) If the above tips don’t help try talking to someone you feel comfortable with. Sometimes just voicing what is going on inside our head takes the weight off our shoulders. Especially if that someone listens and cares making us feel understood.
5) Think about the situation. If it were a friend talking to you and they were having the feelings and thoughts, you are having. What would you say to them? Then write that down as a letter to yourself.
How Can we overcome?
I reached out on Chronic Illness Bloggers network and within minutes I had several blog links that they had written about guilt. I can’t say enough good about this supportive group. Check out the posts and you will be nodding along in agreement with what these bloggers say.
Chronic Illness & Parenting
Guilt from Chronic Illness
Guilt from disability
Negative thoughts & emotions
SeekingSerenity& Harmony Posts that mention Guilt
Thank you to all of those in my chronic illness group who were so quick to give me links when I was looking for resources!