How to stop feeling bad about something you did?

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : September 25, 2022

Table of Contents
Article title – Low self esteem
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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We have all done at least one thing that makes us feel bad. Mistakes are a normal part of human nature. However, we end up feeling bad. While some of us get over it soon, some simply cannot. Often the guilt transforms into self-pity and self-blame. This article explores how to stop feeling bad about something you did. When we do something bad, we feel bad as well as guilty. Sometimes, the guilt is what makes us feel bad. Therefore, in this article, we find ways of letting go of what happened and how to stop feeling guilty about it.

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Chapter 1:

Guilt as an Emotion

Guilt is a very personal emotion. Like shame and embarrassment, its meaning changes from person to person. It is dependent on one’s self-evaluation or reflection of self. Guilt serves a vital function when one makes amends for the wrong that they have done. Guilt can have negative effects too. For instance, when a person cannot live peacefully because of guilt. In this, guilt becomes a burden and a cause for despair.

Is guilt helpful? Yes. However uncomfortable, guilt helps people feel sorry for their mistakes and repent. This not only helps them feel good but makes the offended person feel a little better. Guilt helps a person to put their guards down and apologize, thus placing the relationship on a higher pedestal compared to their ego.

Guilt, despite being a negative emotion, stops people from harming others. It prevents

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Chapter 2:

How Does Guilt Affect Us in a Negative Way?

Guilt becomes unhelpful when people fixate on their mistakes even when others have let it go or forgive them. Additionally, when a person cannot overcome their past mistakes, it can affect their actions in the future too. Every action will be weighed by the earlier mistake.

Some people feel the weight of their guilt throughout their lives. They cannot forgive themselves. This prevents them from living their lives in a meaningful manner. Are struggling with the burden too? Here are some tips to stop feeling bad about something you did.

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Chapter 3:

How to Stop Feeling Bad About a Mistake You Did

Reflect upon Your Guilt

An important step for overcoming your guilt is to introspect. When we introspect, we can understand our mistakes better. We think of how we could have dealt with it otherwise. Moreover, we also process the information better when we reflect upon it. Reflection helps us to face our guilt and not hide away from it. Hiding your emotion doesn’t help in the long run. When we mask our emotions, they spill out when we least expect them to. Reflection can also help us to stop feeling guilty as we often understand why we made a particular mistake.

Identify How You Can Amend the Mistake

The best way to stop feeling bad about something you did is to identify the source of the mistake and find ways to amend it. However, one should not be under the perception that one can make a mistake and later amend it. However, it is important to assess the damage and take measures to mitigate it. Therefore, try to identify the source of your mistakes. Note it down. Try to understand why you made a particular mistake. All this should be done constructively with a conscious effort.

Owning a mistake only makes you responsible. The biggest step in moving forward is first acknowledging your own mistakes. To stop feeling bad about something you did, it is important to understand the mistake. You don’t have to necessarily take all the blame for the mistake.

Journaling

This helps you to name your guilt. A simple exercise would be to sit down and write what you are feeling in a notebook. Write down your thoughts. Say to yourself and write down what you think you did wrong. Write down why you are feeling bad about something you did. Be open to all the emotions that occur in your mind and the ones that you’ve been feeling. Write them down. Try to explore these feelings without drowning in them or judging yourself. Writing down can make you feel better. This in turn helps you to stop feeling guilty.

Take Action

Apologize and amend! Even if it feels very intimidating at first, nothing makes a person feel better than saying sorry. Apologizing is the best way to stop feeling bad about something you did to others. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say sorry. It makes you very vulnerable but once you have said sorry with all your heart, it empowers you. An apology is even worth it if it is followed by actions. Action need not be a grand gesture, it can simply be a promise to oneself that the same event will not be repeated. While saying sorry can be difficult for many, it is the most courageous thing to do. Acknowledge your role and how you feel bad that the other person was hurt in the process. Take time to sit with the person and understand what they feel and think.

Be Conscious in the Future

An apology means nothing if you keep repeating the same mistake, to stop feeling bad about something you did, it is important to not repeat the same mistake in the future. Always try to be conscious of your actions in the future. Be mindfully present before you do something. This will help you that your actions have consequences. Even if something has happened in the past and you can’t undo it, try to not repeat it in the future. Write down how you can avoid such mistakes in the future. Try to implement the steps to avoid the mistake. This will help you feel less guilty.

Forgive Yourself

It is important to let go of the past. Be kind to yourself. Many things cannot be changed. As humans, all of us are fallible. You cannot mend everything. Therefore the best way to stop feeling bad about something you did is by forgiving yourself and moving forward. You may have lost your treasured relationship or a long-term friend, it hurts. However, in some cases there is very little you can do about it. There are many ways to let go of the mistake and let go of the past. You can write a letter to the person who has been hurt and tell them you are sorry about the mistake.

You can also visualize the person sitting in front of you and say sorry to them. If talking to the person is not an option, you can also write a letter with no address. Forgiving yourself helps you to stop feeling guilty for past actions.

Be Compassionate with Yourself

If you want to stop feeling ad about something you did, replace the negative self-talk with kindness. Be compassionate with yourself and others. Try practicing altruistic behavior. Be kind to others and help the needy. Stop being rude to yourself and judging all your actions based on your past mistake. Ask yourself, how would you advise your friend if they had made a mistake? Self-punishment harms your sense of self and mental health in dangerous ways. Sometimes circumstances force us to do something wrong. However, do not evaluate yourself based on past actions where you had no control.

Endnote

When the guilt lingers for a long time, it can cause many emotional problems. People start facing issues such as low self-confidence or self-esteem issues. Sometimes, suppressed guilt can lead to anger and frustration as well. At Epsychonline, there are courses such as Low self-esteem. These courses help you overcome the effects of guilt. The courses are curated by experts and are self-help in nature. There are many articles on the website that deal with difficult emotions such as guilt. Do check them out.

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways to build self-esteem In this six

51 Lessons

12 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount