Emotional Intelligence

Breaking Free: How to Conquer Guilt Before It Drags You Down

Woman sitting on couch with blurry kids running by her.

Guilt is a feeling that can hold us back from the wonderful and rich lives we deserve. Chronic guilt can even lead to detrimental effects on your overall health and well-being. To move forward confidently in your life and build the success you want, it’s important to learn how to conquer guilt before it drags you down. 

What is the root cause of guilt?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines guilt as, “Feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy.”

Guilt is a feeling almost all of us will experience at some point in our lives. Some of us, however, have a difficult time controlling the guilt we feel over past actions, especially if we think they caused harm in some way or if they broke a moral code we hold. 

Guilt relates to the past and keeps us there.  In order to move forward, we need to learn how to release the guilt.

We need to accept that we all make mistakes. Proactively dealing with the guilt we feel afterwards can be a positive part of our personal development, as is learning how to get past unresolved guilt before it starts to affect us in deeper ways.

How does guilt affect a person?

Guilt can affect people in different ways. Some people:

  • Can become anxious or depressed
  • Constantly stress about the effects of their actions
  • Fear making wrong decisions 
  • Avoid dealing with their emotions

If this becomes chronic guilt, it can lead to physical symptoms like stomach upset, headaches, muscle tension, weight gain or loss, fatigue and more. 

How do you overcome feelings of guilt?

Overcoming feelings of guilt starts with self-awareness. It is only through self-awareness that we can shift our focus from dwelling on past mistakes to embracing opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development.

To begin, you first need to understand the reason you feel guilty.

  • Is it because you made a mistake?
  • Do you feel like you have upset or hurt someone?
  • Are you feeling responsible for something that happened?
  • Do you feel like you are inadequate in some way? 

Getting to the specific reason you are feeling guilty will help you get to the root cause of the guilt, so you can work through it. 

Some people feel guilty for taking time for self-care. Self-care is extremely important for success. It’s how we rejuvenate and energize ourselves. Any guilt you might feel for taking time for you, needs to be worked through, so you can build the life you want and deserve!


The next step is to examine your values and beliefs. 

  • What value has been compromised that causes you to feel guilty?
  • What personal belief has been broken?
  • How does either one or both apply to your moral code?

When you understand what is driving it, you can start to build a strategy for conquering guilt.

Step 3 is to figure out what is actually within your control in the specific situation. 

For example, if you are feeling responsible for something that went wrong, while you can’t do anything about your past actions, you can accept what happened and look for ways to make it better now or make amends for it.

If there is nothing you can do to make the situation better, then you can decide how you can take the experience and use it to make yourself a better person moving forward. This is a great step toward conquering guilt and expanding your personal development. 

The final step, as you work through your ways of coping with guilt, is to consider the personal boundaries you can set. 

This will help to ensure that you don’t keep putting yourself in situations where you might feel guilty. For example, you might feel guilty that you spend too much time working and not enough time with your family. A good personal boundary in this case, would be to limit your work hours to specific times, and schedule dedicated family time each day. Then you must hold yourself accountable to the commitments. 

If you are having extreme difficulty coping with guilt, please consider getting professional help to work through it. We cannot do everything on our own, and to live the lives we deserve, sometimes we need to look to others to give us the tools we don’t have. 

I do hope the steps above will help you conquer guilt, so guilt doesn’t drag you down and you can start living a happier and more peaceful life. 

In my experience, the more steps you can take to build a positive growth-focused mindset, the faster you can achieve the joyful, guilt-free life you envision. If you would like to dedicate yourself to a conscious evolution, I invite you to start your account in my ATM today.

My Abundance Tips and Mentoring will help you develop an abundance mindset you can bank on.


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