Acknowledge and Accept Guilt - Deepstash

Acknowledge and Accept Guilt

Don’t waste your energy fighting your guilt or thinking, “I shouldn’t feel this way.” Ignoring it or even trying to suppress it won’t work.

Instead, notice your feelings and acknowledge it. Put a name to it. Studies show that just labeling your feelings can help them feel less intense.

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MORE IDEAS FROM How to Deal With the Guilt You Feel During the Pandemic

A lot of people are experiencing unnecessary guilt right now, so you’re not alone if you can relate. Talking to friends and family members who understand can help.

If, despite your efforts, you’re still experiencing a lot of guilt or it’s interfering with your ability to function, consider seeking professional help. Guilt can be a symptom of depression, PTSD, or other mental health issues.

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It’s important to show yourself some compassion, ditch the harsh self-criticism, and learn to be kinder to yourself.

A great way to practice self-compassion is to ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend who felt this way or had this problem?” Chances are, you'd be kind.

Responding to yourself with that same type of kindness and compassion can help alleviate some of the unnecessary guilt you feel.

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Guilt feels uncomfortable. So when you experience it, you may be tempted to take whatever steps you can to feel better. But if you’re not careful, the action you take to relieve your guilt might not be healthy.

Ultimately, you may end up feeling even guiltier for taking actions out of an attempt to alleviate your guilt.

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Pay attention to the story you are telling yourself and ask if there’s another way to look at the situation. You might discover a slight shift in the way you think about the situation can help you feel better.

If you think, “I’m a horrible person for not helping my parents,” you’ll feel bad. But, if you remind yourself, “I’m doing the most loving thing I can right now by staying away,” you might feel a little better.

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Be aware of the other emotions and mood you experience when you’re around other people too. If someone tries to force you to go on guilt trips, set boundaries. Refuse to be “guilted” into doing things you don't want to do.

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Your guilt may be a reminder that you should apologize to someone you've hurt.

If you messed up, acknowledge your mistake to the other person. Say you’re sorry without making any excuses for your behavior and accept full responsibility.

You may also feel guilty even when you haven’t done anything wrong. Acknowledge the difficulties the other person is experiencing, but don’t give an unnecessary apology.

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Here are several reasons why people experience more guilt during the pandemic:

  • People are suffering. If you’re not suffering as much as other people, you might experience guilt that you’re doing OK.
  • Other people might shame you for your good fortune: a promotion or celebrating a birthday—or even for being in a good mood.
  • The usual rules don’t apply. Many of the things you held dear prior to the pandemic—like visiting your parents often and limiting your kids’ screen time—may no longer be options or priorities.

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Here are a few reasons why some people may be feeling more guilty during this time:

  • Being quarantined and perhaps working from home has increased your quality of life.
  • Your kids and family have been affected.
  •  It has become much more difficult to assist those who are in need of help during this time.
  • You did or didn't follow social distancing rules.

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There are many reasons why you might have feelings of guilt. It could be because of an event, situation, or person. 

Some people, for example, have “survivor guilt.” This is when someone who survived an event or situation feels guilty about surviving when others did not. It’s also common to feel guilty about something you did that you consider to be morally wrong. This type of guilt is usually accompanied by shame.

Instead of acknowledging and apologizing for what you did, you may try to conceal it because of shame. Some people would rather live with a constant feeling of guilt than admit the

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Guilt Gone Wrong

Guilt is a normal emotion and at the right levels can be useful in our relationships, but unhealthy guilt has high levels of anxiety, pressure and shame associated with it, which can be toxic to our lives.

Guilt occurs when certain rules are broken. While some rules are universal and need to be upheld, there are certain rules which are self-made or imposed by society:

  1. Don’t disappoint others.
  2. Never get angry.
  3. Always say Yes.

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What Guilt-tripping Is

Guilt-tripping is an indirect approach to communication. Even when you’ve done nothing wrong, the other person might imply the situation is somehow your fault. They make their unhappiness clear and leave it to you to find a way of fixing the problem.

If you feel guilty about their suffering, you’re more likely to do what you can to help. Intentional or not, guilt-tripping prevents healthy communication and conflict resolution, and often provokes feelings of resentment and frustration.

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