Lose the Guilt

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you know exactly what you would say to someone else that is struggling with your circumstances but you just can't seem to take that same advice? No? Me neither...

Oh, except for a situation I'm in right now. If it was you that was in my shoes I'd confidently tell you:

"Lovely, the only person who expects you to be perfect is you! Don't beat yourself up. Take responsibility for what happened and then let it go."

I know first hand that it is easier said than done.

I hate feeling like a screw up. I hate it even more when I think someone else thinks I'm a screw up. But what starts as a small struggle becomes a big issue in your life when you settle into that guilt.

So here are 3 beliefs that will help you to move past your guilt quicker so that you can spend more time living a life you love!

1. True guilt has a purpose.

It's important to recognize the guilt you are feeling. Experiencing true guilt for doing something wrong is actually good. It helps you to recognize where you have messed up so that you can make it right and avoid doing it again.

However, false guilt feels the same as true guilt. But rather than having a purpose, it keeps you prisoner. So next time you are feeling a deep sense of guilt, think about why you feel guilty. Is it something you know you did wrong that you shouldn't do again? If so, then that is probably true guilt. But if the behaviour you feel guilty about is not something that needs to be changed or reexamined, then that is likely false guilt.

With true guilt, there should be a fairly clear action you need to take to resolve the situation; make amends or restitution if it involves another person, or repent and change your behaviour if it is between you and God.

2. Perfection doesn't exist.

You can just go ahead and commit this one to memory. You are not perfect; you never will be. So stop being so surprised when you screw up!

Making mistakes is inevitable; wallowing in our guilt and self-loathing is optional. It's normal and expected that we will all mistakes. The sooner we come to terms with that, the better.

Let it go and do better next time.

3. Life isn't fair.

This one is tough. You see, it centers around the false belief we have that we can live our lives without ever experiencing pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, we live in a broken world and we will experience pain. In fact, biblically, we are told in multiple passages of scripture that we will suffer if we follow Christ.

One of my new favourite quotes is by Pastor Ken Dyck (author of the Freedom Session program):

“When I am willing to suffer, what people think of me has very little impact because I am willing to suffer people’s bad opinion of me... people can’t control me... fear of failure can’t control me.”

— Ken Dyck

There are times that we feel guilty for reasons that are completely out of our control. Sometimes people dislike us or criticize us and we feel bad, even though we know we didn't intentionally do anything wrong.

But life isn't fair. People will hurt us for no fault of our own. Feel that hurt and then move on.

Do you find it difficult to move past your guilt? What have you found to be helpful when you're feeling stuck in it?