Guilt can weigh on us throughout our lives so much. We keep piling it on and piling it on throughout life until it seems like we start to feel guilty about everything. I’ve had guilt literally weighing me down for over 30 years of my life sometimes.
Feeling guilty can cause pain to show up mentally and physically in our bodies. If you take a minute and think about where in your body do you feel the guilt, you might realize you have a painful or clenching sensation in a certain area. For me, I feel a lot of these feelings as a clenching feeling in my chest or stomach.
We can’t always be forgiven by other people for the things we’ve done and we have to find how to get rid of guilt without being forgiven by anyone but ourselves.
Why do we feel guilty?
We feel guilt because we think we should have done something differently than we did. Did you catch the part where I said “we think”? That’s all it is…a thought that we think.
It would be easy to say to just stop thinking that thought then. But we all know it’s not that simple to turn our minds around by just deciding to.
We also usually think that we’re not supposed to or allowed to feel that feeling. Allowing yourself to sit with the guilt for a few minutes and really feeling it so you can let it go will free you.
I’m going to give you an exercise to do to eliminate guilt and shame right away and then I’ll show you an example from my journal of how I released guilt around a situation in my life so you can see it in action.
How To Stop Feeling Guilty Immediately
Grab your journal or a piece of paper before you start. I find it helps to write this down.
Write down what you feel guilty about.
Write down why you feel guilty about it.
Get as specific as you can and allow yourself to feel into it. If you feel like crying during this exercise at any time, DO NOT HOLD IT IN! You have to let yourself know that it’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.
It may be scary at first to be allowed to feel guilty, but giving yourself to permission to feel what you’re feeling and that everything will be okay is going to allow it to leave your body.
Close your eyes and sit quietly for a few minutes and allow yourself to really feel the guilt and why you feel guilty. If you have a child, would you want them to feel guilty about this thing? If you don’t have a child, you can imagine you do or use another child in your life that you love for this exercise. What would you say to them if they were feeling guilty about this? Say those words to yourself as if you’re that child.
This might sound really simple and like it won’t work, but if you sit quietly for a few minutes and feel your way through it, you will release the guilt in a matter of minutes.
It’s normal and perfectly okay to cry this out. Crying is you releasing your old story. If that’s what you feel don’t hold it back. Let it go.
If you’ve really allowed yourself to go into this exercise 100% you should feel a sense of relief and that pain or clenching sensation should be gone or drastically improved.
Here’s An Example of Releasing Guilt From My Journal
I want to show you what this looks like in case you feel confused at all by any of the steps above.
What do I feel guilty about?
I feel guilty that I didn’t spend more time with my grandparents when I was a teenager and they were getting older. Now I can’t get forgiveness from them because they’ve both passed away.
Why do I feel guilty about that?
I think I should have been there for them like they were there for me my whole life. And my aunt said that Grandma told her that kids grow up and have less time to spend with them just before she died. That made me feel like I disappointed my grandparents by not spending more time with them.
I gave myself a few minutes to sit and feel everything that came up and cried it out.
Would Grandma want me to feel guilty about it? Or if I had a child, would I want them to feel guilty about it and what would I say to them?
No, my grandma would never want me to feel guilty about anything. She loved me so much. I would tell my child that it’s normal to have other things going on in life and to have less time to spend with your grandparents. You only ever need to be exactly where you are. Don’t ever feel like you should be somewhere else. You should always follow your joy.
You can stop feeling guilty about anything and everything using this method.
I hope this helps you eliminate guilt that you’re feeling over old stuff or current stuff. Once you get the weight of guilt off your shoulders your life will start to change in so many ways.