During my days in boot camp, we were shown a few videos to develop our sense of patriotism, watch the heroes of our nation do all of these amazing things for their comrades and the civilians they were protecting alike.
You know, all of that nonsense.
Truth be told, you could never fault me for being a patriotic person, as such I honestly only tolerated these videos. They were interesting, sure, but the days were long and the nights were short back there – I didn’t want to waste time on stuff like that, I wanted to sleep darn it!
A recurring theme in all of these meetings was the sheer inability of these supposed war heroes to handle the guilt. There was this guy who became handicapped for life because he put is life on the line to save some of his mates in a tank incident, when interviewed he said he would never have been able to forgive himself if he didn’t do that.
That was an odd thing to me – why would you feel guilty over your own health and condition? He was a soldier, a warrior, so naturally, that was what was expected of him.
In a later discussion about the topic, people mentioned how much of a hero that man was, yet I couldn’t help but ponder about that more seriously.
More specifically on the ‘guilt’ part.
Feeling guilty over not risking your health and future for the future of others…
The thought itself was odd to me at the time, and I noticed how everyone seemed to be okay with that when I questioned all the answers were something along the lines of “Yeah, but I’m not a hero…”
If you know me at all, you would know that people create their circumstances more than the circumstances create them.
By that, I mean that if someone wants something badly enough he/she will make it work for him/her. As such, I wasn’t buying all of that “I’m not a hero” or “this isn’t expected from me” nonsense not even for a moment.
They were coming up with excuses to justify their morality, I knew so immediately and was about to call them on that, but then it hit me.
These excuses were just keeping their own guilt over the surface.
In Guilt, Shame, and Anxiety: Understanding and Overcoming Negative Emotions written by Doctor Peter R. Breggin this very scenario was described in detail – guilt is the failure of justifying thoughts and emotions.
It all made sense right then and there – that soldier who saved his comrades was running away from guilt, the other guys back then who were pulling lines out of their rear were just justifying their feelings.
If we go further with the examples, a person who for a achieve a certain goal will come up with an excuse because he doesn’t want to feel guilty over failing to accomplish whatever he promised himself.
It was hypocritical, but it was the reality.
Which makes all the more sense when discussing guilt, anxiety, and depression.
Guilt is a symptom of both anxiety and depression, but why?
- When it comes to anxiety, excessive worry, you tend to develop these ideas that you could have done something better, and that tends to make you feel guilty.
- Concerning depression, your inability to live life and the social pressure you go through because of that make you feel guilty.
Reasons may vary of course, yet the fact that guilt as a symptom remains the same.
Which is why I took my time to write a list, in this article (or however much remains of it) you will learn How To Stop Feeling Guilty About Everything.
This is a four-step plan, if you stick to it you are going to see results.
1) Focus on yourself
A lot of people with anxiety and depression tend to take the blame for things that have nothing to do with them, feeling as though it is somehow justified, they shift the blame onto themselves to rationalize the fact that they feel so terrible.
I am telling you not to do that.
People who are truly successful in life tend to take the blame for everything that has to do with them, this is an empowering notion to some.
If you are responsible for it you can change it, yes?
If you suffer from anxiety and depression, on the other hand, you tend to take the blame from others and feel guilt over things that have nothing to do with you.
Is it your fault you hit a crazy biker who wasn’t wearing a helmet and was violating all driving regulations with your car? Is it your fault that your team didn’t finish all of its assignments in time? When someone pickpockets you in the street are you at fault for going outside the house with your wallet on your person?
Of course not! So stop taking the blame for things like that, you are only hurting yourself and getting nothing in return!
2) Stop obsessing, correct your mistakes and change.
The most dangerous and worrisome thing about guilt is that it haunts us.
You tend to recall the event that caused you to feel guilty for years to come, and the feeling won’t leave, it sticks to your psyche.
The subtitle may sound a bit random to you, but I chose to address these three topics in one go because they have the same solution.
You see, when it comes to past guilt, present guilt, or future guilt there is always only one solution – change.
Stop feeling guilty right now by doing everything in your power to make a change, stop feeling your past guilt by realizing that there is nothing you can do, stop any future guilt by making sure you have nothing to feel guilty of.
This is a huge task, I know, but I won’t be accepting any excuses any neither should you – if you want to change badly enough you will put every bit of effort into making that change possible.
How? Well, it varies from person to person, but from what I can tell by basically making sure that tomorrow’s ‘you’ is better than today’s ‘you’ you are already making changes for the better.
Here’s the deal – people tend to feel guilty because of how they could have, and should have, acted differently, how they could’ve done more.
So make yourself better so that you will be able to act differently and do more.
I won’t sugarcoat it either, it’s not going to be easy, but that’s the only way for you to know that you have truly done your best.
3) Accept life and the mistakes that come with it
The truth is that no matter how much you try, how great a person you are and how capable you hope to be – you will forever be prone to mistakes.
You can’t change any of the mistakes you previously made, and you could only do your best when it comes to preventing future mistakes.
Acceptance is the key here – accept what you can’t change and change what you can. You are flawed, just like everyone, and as such you are meant to make mistakes.
And that’s okay.
People thrive in success yet only grow in failure, that’s humanity’s greatest asset and far be it from you misinterpret that as something negative or bad.
You grew in a society where failure is bad and has repercussions you were taught to perceive as huge.
So instead of breaking down over every little issue minimize damages and shrug off any imperfection, assuming you did your best of course.
I don’t approve of people who don’t give 100% of themselves to their cause.
You aren’t guilty
I am, and have always been, a man of action.
As such, I get really pissed off when I see most advice about mood and psychology, they are practicing this “law of attraction”, which I’m not an overly huge fan of.
So instead of offering you support I gave you a concrete, 3 step system, on how to make your condition better.
Take action upon these steps, one at a time, and you will be noticing an improvement in your condition, so prepare these love letters, since you are going to be thanking me long after reading this article.
Right, so before you go and change your life, here’s a quick question for you: When was the last time you did something you regretted? Did you do anything to change that or did you just accept it and moved on?
More than one question, but I have complete faith in your ability to answer.
So while you are at it make sure to drop your answer in the comment section below, I read every single one of them.
If you have anything you would like to ask me personally feel free to send me an email, I will get back to you as soon as possible and answer your questions to the best of my ability.