Moving past guilt
Merriam Webster gives three definitions of “guilt.” For today’s purposes, we will use definition #3… a feeling of deserving blame for offenses.
When someone we know passes from this world, whether it be suddenly tragic or after a long illness, there are often questions like, “What could I have done differently to make their life better?”
Sometimes people are so wracked with guilt that they can’t get past it and blame themselves for the person’s death.
My heart goes out to people in that situation. They aren’t to blame for the death of their friend or loved one, but they feel somehow, they might have prevented it, if only (fill in the blank.)
“If only” is to guilt as “what if” is to worry.
If someone has passed away, there is nothing you can do to change whatever the circumstances of their death were. It’s a fact. The real question is, “How do we deal with the guilt that we feel as a result of the situation?”
Somethings you need to remember…
• The energy you are spending on what has happened is robbing you of the energy you need for today
• You aren’t perfect
• You cannot change what’s already happened
• You are loved by God
Here are some suggestions on how to move past guilt…
• Realize what you can control and what you cannot
• Ask “What can I learn from this?”
• Focus on what you can do now
• Build a support network
• Talk with a trusted friend
• Start a journal
• Forgive yourself
I understand that many of these suggestions are much easier to say than to do. Much like worry, if you don’t discover a way to release your guilt, it will build. The longer you hold on to it, the harder it will be to let it go. You can’t change the past. You must find a way to move positively forward.
Please seek professional assistance if you are struggling with feelings of guilt. Never lose hope. You can do this.
*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach who shares her knowledge and teaches others to find their hope for the future.*