9 Tips on Guilt Release
Let’s say you’ve broken your friend’s favourite mug or said something to someone you regretted after the fact and they’re devastated. How do you feel when instead of blaming you, someone blames someone else for something you have done? Have you refused to take responsibility for an action of yours, even though it was an accident?
This is guilt at its finest, aka its worst. And let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of doing things we regret. As much as we hate to make them, mistakes are actually a natural part of human growth. It’s how we learn how to be kinder to others, to not let history repeat itself, and to not let our past mistakes dominate us. However, guilt is insidious in that it sneaks in and ventures out a place in our consciousness, which can cause more than enough emotional and physical chaos to our lives.
Isn’t it time to let go of your guilt? Let me help you out by sharing these nine tips on how to release guilt using hypnotherapy.
What Exactly is Guilt?
Guilt is known best as the nausea that sits at the pit of your stomach. It’s the same kind of nausea you feel when you know you’ve hurt someone you care about. You know you broke that favourite mug of theirs, but you’ve failed to acknowledge it.
You may also struggle with persistent self-judgment and criticism related to your memories of what happened in past experiences of breaking other mugs, and it’s tied tightly with your fear of others finding out. Perhaps you’ve had some past trauma and the mug breaking is a reminder of that, which lends to you having a fear of others finding out about the incident of you breaking the mug.
Guilt is such a powerful emotion. It’s useful in that it helps us to acknowledge our actions and wrongs and fuel our motivation to improve behaviour that has never served us. It can direct you to fixate on what you could have done differently in the situation, and how to avoid it from happening again in the future.
When we’re able to learn to acknowledge our guilt and learn to release it, guilt can promote positive growth in both your mind and your life. It can help you to look at specific situations or behaviours, helping to guide you in repairing any supposed transgressions.
So, now we know why we need to release our guilt. It’s time to know how to do just that.
1. Name Your Guilt
Right in the moment, as soon as it arises, try one of these things:
- Set aside some quiet time for yourself.
- Track your thoughts in a journal, preferably a physical one.
- Out loud, or in your journal, write what happened, “I feel guilty because…”
- Mentally open your door to the guilt, frustration, regret, anger, and any other emotion that may arise. Write down what you feel may help.
- Sit with your feelings and instead of judging them, explore them with curiosity.
- Imagine what it feels like when you are free of the guilty feeling.
By analyzing the situation, you can help get control on what you are feeling. Mindfulness meditation and journaling and positive visualization can help you become more familiar with your emotions, allowing you to accept and work through even the most uncomfortable of emotions.
2. Explore the Source
Before you’re able to navigate your guilt, you need to be able to recognize where it comes from.
Guilt is normal when we know we’ve done something wrong, however it can also root itself in response to events we had little or anything to do with.
Even if we only admit them to ourselves, owning up to our mistakes is crucial, however it is equally crucial to take note when we unnecessarily blame ourselves for things we cannot control.
Common causes of guilt:
- Surviving trauma or disaster
- Conflict between personal choices and values you make
- Mental or physical health concerns
- Desires or thoughts you believe you shouldn’t have
- When you believe you should focus on others but instead care for your own needs
3. Apologize and Make Amends
Sincere apologies help to begin repairing the damage done after poor behaviour, conveying remorse and regret to the person you hurt, and letting them know how you plan to avoid making the same mistake going forward.
Forgiveness may not be given immediately, or at all. Apologies don’t guarantee healing broken trust.
However, being sincere in your apology helps in YOUR healing, since it offers YOU the chance to express your feelings of accountability after making the mistake.
4. Learn From the Past
Not every situation can be mended, and some mistakes may cost relationships and friendships. Guilt and sadness over someone or something lost feels impossible to break free.
Before leaving the past, you need to accept it. Musing over memories doesn’t fix what’s broken.
Rather, try to ponder what you’ve learned:
- What led to the mistake? Explore triggers that provoked your action and any feelings that knocked you over the edge.
- What would you do differently?
- What did your activities tell you about yourself? Do they direct steer toward any particular behaviours you can work on?
5. Practice Gratitude
Ways to practice gratitude:
- Thank your loved ones for their kindness
- Make your appreciation clear
- Acknowledge opportunities you’ve gained as a result of their support
- Commit to paying this support forward when you’re on more solid ground
This gratitude is for those who help us in our struggles, helping them not feel guilty for helping us, as we wouldn’t want to feel guilty for helping them.
6. Replace Negative Self-Talk with Self-Compassion
Making mistakes doesn’t make us horrible human beings. It’s what makes us human.
Guilt provokes harsh self-criticism. Giving into self-punishment doesn’t improve things, either. Rather, it takes a heavy emotional toll.
Instead of self-shame, ask yourself what you may say to someone you care about in a similar situation, reminding them of their strengths, letting them know how much you treasure them.
Give yourself that same kindness. Reminding yourself of that worth can boost confidence and make it easier for you to objectively consider situations and avoid the sway of emotional distress.
7. Make Guilt Work for You
Guilt can act as a wake-up call, an alarm, letting you know when you made a decision that conflicts with your personal values. As opposed to letting it take over, put it to work.
When it’s used as a tool, guilt can cast a light on areas of yourself you feel frustrated with. For example, if you’ve struggled with honesty and someone finally caught you in a lie, taking action to address the circumstance sets you toward your goal.
Or, let’s say you feel guilty for not spending time with others. You can then learn to make more of an effort to connect.
When we feel bad about things we can’t control, we can explore the reasons behind this guilt with the help of a professional and get to the root cause. Hypnotherapy can be beneficial to helping explore this kind of guilt.
8. Forgive Yourself
Self-forgiveness is a component of self-compassion, when you forgive yourself, you’re acknowledging you made a mistake, and can look toward the future without letting it define you.
Four key steps to self-forgiveness:
- Take responsibility for your actions
- Express repentance and regret without letting it convert into shame
- Commit to making amend for any harm caused
- Practice self-acceptance and trust yourself for future situations
For more tips on how to cultivate forgiveness, you can always check out my article How to Forgive and Move on With Help from Hypnotherapy.
9. Establish Boundaries
Unclear boundaries can be a result of guilt. When trying to communicate your needs to others, you may feel guilty, or feel twinges of guilt when you don’t do as others ask.
Make your expectations clear in order to establish healthy boundaries. Establish what behaviours you will accept from others and what behaviours others can expect from you.
These boundaries help to prevent guilt when having relationships and friendships with others, and keeps a healthy autonomy for yourself, keeping your needs met.
Hypnotherapy as Your Tool to Release Guilt
Guilt belongs in the past. Letting go means strengthening your resilience and building confidence to make better decisions for yourself in the future.
Along with the following tips, hypnotherapy can be a great tool to aid in releasing your guilt and helping to find that root cause of guilt beyond your control.
The feelings you may be experiencing are part of a depressive sequence of negative thoughts, and each thought may get worse sending you down the negative rabbit hole. Hypnotherapy can help within the subconscious to acknowledge the negative thoughts, find any root cause of guilt and unhelpful emotions that we may be harbouring, and, using guided imagery and visualization techniques, transform them into positive thoughts that release guilt that is festering.
If this sounds like the best option to release your guilt, and you’d like some support and a guide on your journey to change and transform your mind and life for the better, contact me today. Let me help you release the guilt that’s no longer serving you.
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