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Attention: The information provided in this forum is intended for educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Letting Go of Guilt
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
Guilt can be a healthy feeling. It tells us when we need to re-evaluate our actions, apologize, and make amends. However, too often, people weigh themselves down with unnecessary guilt. They blame themselves for circumstances that were beyond their control or for results of their actions that they could never have known about. Or, they carry so much guilt for a behavior that it outweighs the actual offense; and keeps them for being able to make amends. So, rather than spurring them on to fix things or make better decisions in the future, it just paralyzes them.

Instead, it would be more helpful for them to understand that regret for how things turn out does not necessarily imply that they were guilty of doing something wrong. And, with that understanding, it would be particularly helpful for them to be compassionate to their own struggles as they sit with painful emotions. This tends to open people up to having empathy for others, a willingness to apologize, and the fortitude to try to make things better.

If you have struggled with this distinction, what are some examples and how you did you try to work through the guilt?

If you would like to read more in detail about this topic in my The Art of Relationships blog, click here .

Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.

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