5 Powerful Ways to Let Go of Guilt
Updated: Apr 8, 2021
Note: You can listen to the companion podcast for this blogpost below.
Guilt is a difficult emotion to experience. It can be triggered by something we did or said, but it can also arise from situations that are out of our control. Regardless of circumstances, it's vital for emotional wellbeing to let go of guilt.
Letting go of guilt will allow you to live your life without worrying about what others think or how they might judge you. You deserve to live freely and without any regrets!
An Important Question to Start the Release Process
An important question to ask yourself whenever you’re feeling guilty is:
Did I really do something wrong or am I reacting to the fear of being judged by other people?
Allow yourself the necessary time to process this important question. If, after thinking about the question, you conclude what happened was either misunderstood or outside of your control, you’ve taken an important step toward letting go of a burden that isn’t truly yours to carry.
Determine What Actions - If Any - Are Needed
If you did do or say something you’re sorry for, ask yourself what actions do I need to take now? If an apology is warranted, waste no time in contacting whoever you need to contact, acknowledge your mistake, and say a heart-felt, “I’m sorry".
The person you offer your apology to may or may not be ready to accept your apology and forgive you for whatever mistake was made. Whether the person accepts your apology or not, recognize and tell yourself you did everything you could do to heal the relationship.
Another important question to ask is, “What did I learn from this situation and what will I do differently in the future?”.
This question directs your attention to where it belongs: this moment and the future.
What’s done is done. You’ve taken whatever action is necessary to rebuild the relationship and you’ve identified any lessons learned and charted a way of behaving ongoing.
The ultimate goal is self-forgiveness if you made a mistake or the acknowledgement that you did nothing wrong and proceeding accordingly.
How to Process and Release Guilt and Other Disempowering Thoughts and Feelings
Here are five ways to help you gain perspective and process thoughts and feelings that can arise when you’re feeling guilt:
Spend time in nature. Research tells us getting outside and spending time in nature is a powerful way to ground you physically and emotionally as you reconnect with Mother Earth. The Japanese name for this calming activity is called Forest Bathing. Forest Bathing can help you process challenging thoughts and feelings.
Journal your thoughts and feelings. The act of recording thoughts and feelings in a journal provides you the emotional space to explore beliefs and fears that may be behind or contributing to feelings of guilt. Give yourself permission to simply write whatever comes up for you during your journaling sessions.
Talk with a trusted confidant. Talk with a trusted confidant about the situation that gave rise to feelings of guilt. Remind the person you’re speaking with that his or her role is simply to listen without judgement. You’re not asking your confidant to validate your feelings or judgements. His or her role is to listen and ask questions if absolutely necessary to help clarify your thinking.
Apply Energy Psychology methods. Use one or more of the Energy Psychology techniques you’ll find on the https://www.FREA.support website to release disempowering emotions that may be present in the wake of a situation giving rise to feelings of guilt.
Get professional help if needed. If disempowering thoughts and feelings persist you may want to schedule one or more sessions with a professional practitioner.
What is in and Out of Your Control
Remember the important question we discussed earlier: Did I really do something wrong or am I reacting to the fear of being judged by other people?
Remind yourself if the situation was out of your control, the appropriate decision is acknowledge that fact and move forward free of guilt and other disempowering emotions.
Recap of Five Ways to Process and Release Guilt and Other Disempowering Emotions
Spend time in nature;
Journal thoughts and feelings;
Talk with a trusted confidant;
Apply Energy Psychology methods available at https://www.FREA.support;
Get professional help if needed.
Share Your Questions or Comments
We at FREA would love to hear from you about questions or suggestions to include topics you would like us to talk about. Post comments in the Comments section below or go to the “Contact” page on the FREA website at https://www.frea.support/contact.
Stephen Carter is a FREA volunteer and CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people enhance physical and emotional wellbeing through stress mastery using mind-body methods. He hosts the, "Easy Stress Cures", and "EFT Tapping Junction" podcasts. Steve can be reached by email at CarterMethod@gmail.com and through his website at https://www.EFT-MD.com.