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  • Samantha Cope


Guilt is defined as a “feeling of deserving blame, anger, or shame, often evoked when we consciously hurt others with our words, choices, or actions”.

Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed about something but didn’t understand why?

While it’s certainly important for us to acknowledge when we’ve done something wrong and apologise for it, we sometimes find ourselves feeling guilty about things that we shouldn’t.

Excessively feeling guilty and blaming ourselves for everything is unhealthy, and it often leads to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and perfectionism. which can worsen into behaviors of overcompensating and overthinking, as well as high levels of stress and emotional distress.

Give this exercise a try:

  • Set aside some quiet time for yourself.

  • You can bring along a journal to keep track of your thoughts.

  • Say to yourself, or write down, what happened: “I feel guilty because I shouted at my kids.” “I broke a promise.” “I cheated on a test.”

  • Mentally open the door to guilt, frustration, regret, anger, and any other emotions that might come up. Writing down what you feel can help.

  • Sit with those feelings and explore them with curiosity instead of judgment. Many situations are more complex than they first appear. Picking apart the knot of distress can help you get a better handle on what you’re really feeling.

Speaking with a counsellor can help you to talk about what happened in a supportive and confidential environment.

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