Feeling Guilty? That May Not Be a Bad Thing.
Because guilt comes up in so many sessions, I think it’s an important topic to address. If you are having guilty feelings about something you did, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be healthy so you can evolve and that’s what I explain to my clients.
Feeling guilty demonstrates that your moral compass is working. If you hurt someone emotionally, physically, mentally, or financially and feel bad about it, there’s a chance you won’t repeat that behavior any time soon, if at all. If not, there’s a likelihood those behaviors will be repeated. If someone hurts another and doesn’t feel bad about it, that can border on narcissism or sociopathic tendencies.
I always tell people to look at guilt as a gift when we don’t live up to our own standards. I’d be more worried if they didn’t have a sense of guilt for things they did. We never like to make or admit mistakes but feeling bad about them makes us better people. If there’s an opportunity to apologize, do so. If that isn’t possible, forgive yourself and do random acts of kindness for others. You’d be surprised – doing so not only makes someone else feel good but also does the same for you.
Seeing the emotion of guilt as a friend can actually prevent people from doing the same thing in the future while making us better people going forward.