Guilt is functional when it has the mission of making you analyze your behaviors and learn from the mistake you made.
Juan dropped the bottle of alcohol on the floor. This was the second bottle of wine that he had in the evening. Then the physical discomfort will come, and the other. The one that generates anxiety, pain and above all guilt. Maria does nothing but be in church all day: she lights candles, prays on her knees, does several Hail Marys and signs up for a retreat. I can’t help but think that he could have acted differently.
read 8 types of toxic friends you should banish from your life immediately
Juan and María are convinced that alcohol or the appearance of holiness is to blame. Guilt cannot be turned off with nothing. You can only go to the foot of the cross, embrace the Savior, and let him take care of the ruts and potholes.
Why is guilt sometimes good?
There are times when you can’t take it anymore, the guilt weighs too heavily on you. For example, you hurt your wife and children, and you know that an infidelity cannot be repaired, it works. There are occasions, like this one, that cannot be solved by turning the page and continuing as usual.
That great discomfort that prevents you from moving forward, is guilt, it is the tool that you carry within you and allows you to become aware, to reflect on your mistakes. That feeling of wanting to silence the inner voice that screams “guilty” at all times is what leads you to think about the reasons for your infidelity or the mistake you have made.
Guilt is functional, and its mission is to make you analyze your behaviors and learn from the mistake you made. Guilt is healthy when it invites you to be responsible and accept it, not to silence it or lull it into addictions and harmful behaviors.
When guilt is toxic, it ceases to be a tool that allows you new learning and becomes a petty tombstone that buries your healing, blocking your desire to move forward, preventing you from taking the necessary steps to make up for the wrong action. But so that the guilt does not become pathological, you must follow these steps:
1. Don’t reject discomfort
Taking responsibility for the mistake is the first big step; flee throwing the ball out, does nothing but delay healing. The pending subjects sooner or later must be surrendered.
2. Look at the positives of discomfort
Feeling bad is unpleasant, but remember that feeling that you made a terrible mistake that hurt others is to show that you have entered your own interior and have encountered pain. That is empathy. Now, this painful discomfort is allowing you to understand your loved ones who have been harmed. Feeling bad has a positive side by allowing you to learn from mistakes and want to change your behaviors.
3. Don’t cling to silence
If you think that carrying the pain in silence, drowning it in alcohol or hiding it in a lot of prayers, is a good option, you are wrong. It is not liberating. Liberation comes when you look at your Savior and ask for help, but before you come to Him, recognizing yourself as a sinner and in need of forgiveness.
Once that step is taken, you are in a position to apologize to whoever you have hurt. If for some reason it is no longer possible to come into contact with those you have harmed, and you do not have the possibility to dialogue and demonstrate your repentance, do a symbolic act, either through a letter or a visit to the cemetery or helping others in the same situation.
readHate as the only feeling to love; 3 steps to evaluate yourself and stop hating yourself
4. It’s time to make amends
When you have taken the previous steps, you are in a position to make a firm resolution to compensate for the damage. It is the time of the resolution not to fall into the same error again and to repair as much as possible the people around who have been injured.
Remember that you are the one who chooses to live with guilt. The option to feel free of all guilt is yours too. Rest assured that somehow you are recovering your creativity to start over, something like letting the sun peek through your cloudy sky.