Health & Happiness

How to Get Rid of Guilt

“Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.”

I heard a very profound statement from the CFO of a company that I worked with at my day job. We were trying to help their company clean up their billing audits, and this CFO had been hired in the last 5 months, making this new task a priority to reduce the company’s unnecessary costs.

He said, “I’m not trying to point fingers or place blame on what happened in the past. I’m just trying to make it right moving forward.”

He was giving his employees grace and was trying to teach them to make the right decisions in the future. I think that is an excellent decision in business to make, where employees weren’t trained properly to make the right decisions to start out.

Those words can and should apply to so many different situations. So often we get wrapped up in feeling justified that we fail to realize that grace & forgiveness, whether towards ourselves or others, is the start to positive growth and positive habits.

When I think about the mistakes I’ve made, or the mistake that others have made that have hurt me in the past, a wave of emotions come over me. If it is a mistake I’ve made that is coming to memory, my face gets hot, the feeling of guilt and embarrassment well up inside of me. Whether the mistake was made in school, a job, or a relationship, the feeling is generally the same. I beat myself up for it, I get wrapped up in the feeling of regret and hopelessness that I may not be able to do better in the future. It defeats my confidence, and in my eyes it overshadows my ability.

There is actually a big positive that can come from a negative experience: self examination. But, you have to be careful on what happens after you examine your faults. You can’t let the exposure of your faults define who you are or who you will be in the future. I have learned to find the growth points, and make sure not to make the same mistakes again. I need to “make it right moving forward.” Realizing your faults and working hard to improve in those areas is a very mature and wise thing to do. So get crackin’ sister.

If it is a mistake someone else made that is tearing me apart, I end up wasting energy feeling angry. I can’t believe that they acted that way / said that thing / hurt me that way. It was so selfish of them! That must be the type of person they are. No. Not really. I’m sure I have offended someone at some point, but unless it was called to my attention, I’m not going to remember it like they will. There needs to be grace towards others and ourselves.

“Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

If someone says something that gets to me, I typically get defeated and place too much importance on their opinion. A girl I ran track with in high school literally said to my face once, “I was looking at you, and you would not be pretty if you did not have long hair.” For years a part of me believed that to be true, I was legitimately scared to cut my hair, and I was so angry with her for giving me such an insecurity. How damaging! How false. In this situation, I had to remind myself that “hurt people, hurt people.” She was hurting and put me down to make herself feel better, period. I had to keep my chin up, and not let something so hurtful change who I am (haters gonna hate).

So take a deep breath, forgive yourself for your past. Forgive that one person who did that one thing. It might not come all at once, but just try to a little each day. Look around at the blessings in your life, and keep moving forward. You are stronger and better than you were yesterday!