Guilt can paralyse us if we don’t know how to let go. A minor offence can haunt someone with self-inflicted guilt for days. If you want to get over it, ask yourself how a rational person would punish what you did.
Photo by 30dagarmedanalhu.
In many cases, we punish ourselves far longer than any sane person would. You forget to pick up milk and suddenly you’re public enemy #1 inside your own mind. Fortunately, the police don’t have the time or resources to track you down because you were mildly forgetful this one time. If they can’t be bothered to bring you to justice for your petty infraction, you don’t need to either. As tips blog Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains:
When we’re rational about rule-breaking we set a limit. You don’t get 30 years in prison for a traffic ticket. But sometimes you sentence yourself to months or years of emotional pain over minor offenses… But with guilt, we’re often irrational. How can we know if we’re being rational? Look at the intensity, duration and consequences of the negative emotions you feel. Are they appropriate? Probably not.
Sometimes guilt is a good motivator to let us know we’ve done something wrong. If you forget your anniversary, sure, maybe spend a day making it up. However, if you did something so minor that the person you’re worried about offending is already over it, try not to go out of your way to beat yourself up.
How To Stop Feeling Guilty, 5 Secrets Backed By Research [Barking Up the Wrong Tree]