I adapted my blog post from a longer (much longer) article from the Psyche website. Quality stuff this Psyche website, worth a bookmark.
We all make mistakes, and sometimes we hurt ourselves or others with our actions. But how do we move on from the past and heal ourselves?
Here are some steps:
- Identify the consequences of your behaviour. Be honest and realistic, without exaggerating or minimising the impact of your actions. This will help you understand why you feel guilty.
- Recognize the difference between who you are and what you’ve done. Sometimes we confuse our actions with our identity, and we think that because we did something bad, we are bad people. But this is not true. You are not defined by your mistakes.
- Express remorse, on your own or with others. You can do this by writing a journal entry, creating a piece of art, talking to a friend or a coach, or any other way that works for you. Expressing remorse can help you release the negative emotions that are holding you back.
- Decide to make amends. Depending on the situation, you may want to apologise to the person or people that you hurt, or do something to repair the damage that you caused. This can show that you care about them and that you are sincere in your remorse.
- Make a plan for restoration. Once you have decided how to make amends, you need to put it into action. Make a plan that outlines your goals, the steps that you will take to achieve them, and how you will cope with any challenges or setbacks along the way. An accountability partner is helpful here.
- Write about and reflect on your new direction. The final step is to celebrate your progress and reaffirm your commitment to yourself. How are you now living according to your values? What have you discovered about yourself during this difficult process? Celebrate your win for tackling things head-on.
Be patient and compassionate with yourself along the way, and don’t give up on yourself. You deserve forgiveness and happiness.