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10 reasons why guilt is a wasted emotion


Guilt is not a pleasant emotion, and if asked we would all avoid it if we could. What’s interesting is that guilt is something entirely generated by our own minds, so because of this, surely we should have the ability to disregard it? Here are 10 reasons why guilt is a wasted emotion:

It is in the past

Feeling guilt means that we constantly reflect on the past. We are focusing on what we have done and how that makes us feel and so we are not focused on the present and how we can behave differently to stop it happening again. Guilt can be something we feel for years on end and carry with us in our minds even though it has no physical effect on our lives. We are not able to develop as a person if we do not give our full attention to the present moment.

You cannot solve it

Guilt is an emotion over something that has happened and therefore there is no way to go back in time and reverse it. The only way to rid yourself of guilt is to let go or compensate that action by doing something positive. But reflecting constantly on the action cannot stop its occurrence, regardless of how bad it makes us feel. Guilt is our way of punishing ourselves and unless we lose that memory, it can be an endless battle within ourselves. That’s why we need to realise that nothing can be done to solve it and to move on.

We all make mistakes

Some of us feel more guilt than others, and so we are unfairly punishing ourselves more often when others wouldn’t. Unfortunately, we cannot live a perfect life and we are guaranteed to make mistakes along the road. You need to accept that you have made a mistake and move on, if we held on to the guilt we felt about all of our actions we will never be truly happy. There will always be something to be guilty for, learn that not every offence has to be punishable.

It promotes negative feelings

Guilt promotes sadness, regret and low self worth. If you want to develop and become a better person these are not emotions that will aid this process. Sometimes the guilt is not worth the way you will feel afterwards and is not equivalent to the upset that may have been caused by your actions. If you are already suffering with other negative feelings, don’t waste your time adding guilt on top of them. Guilt can be optional if you allow it to, so don’t overload yourself because you feel as though you are doing the right thing.

You are suffering

Guilt means we suffer, and whilst we believe that this is what we deserve, us suffering is no use to anyone. We may feel regret for the mistakes we have made but to hold them on our shoulders so that we are constantly suffering will make us less of a person. Your guilt is best resolved by you making amends to it, internal suffering is recognised by no-one and only hinders the process of development into a better person.

It is not productive

There is not much we can do when we feel guilt. It is only a sadness we completely inflict upon ourselves and what use is that? Our own personal experience with suffering isn’t going to improve our lives or those around us. So it’s better that you turn that feeling into one that spurs you on to do something positive and rectify your mistakes. Use that powerful emotion to get things done and make better of yourself and others instead of a selfish punishment that is not productive.

We learn from our actions

When we make mistakes then we learn from them and adapt. By doing this we are able to make better choices and live a more positive fulfilling life. Guilt inhibits the process of learning and leaves us in a limbo in between the regret of our actions and the way we can recover from it. Whilst it is fine to feel some guilt to spur us to make a change, lingering on this emotion is only counter-productive.

It is from judgement of others

Guilt is not physical, nor does everyone involved acknowledge it. Guilt is completely isolated personal suffering due to our fear of judgement from others. If we were not wary of what others perceive to be right and wrong, then we would not feel guilt for anything. But our guilt comes from a belief that we have wronged in some way and others are aware of us doing that. So guilt is the emotion we use to punish ourselves for the action we committed. These people that supposedly are judging us cannot see into our minds and so our guilt is useless to them. Guilt is a subjective feeling and so we may as well not waste our time putting ourselves through it and use emotions that can be shared with others.

It is in our minds

We are not told to feel guilt; we completely generate it from our own minds. As a result we can control how intensely we feel it. If you suffer with guilt frequently, it may be of use to try mindfulness [The benefits of living a mindful life] that helps us manage our emotions and stops us internalising negative ones such as guilt. Because it is in our minds, it can be the most irrational feeling because there is no limit to it. Learn to control it and your life will become a lot easier.

It inhibits us from living

As selfish as it may be, you live your life to make yourself as happy as you can. It is important to show that we can be selfless to others, but a mental punishment is not conducive to anyone and just damages our quality of life. We can learn that not every action is the right one, but making ourselves unhappy for these actions will not resolve anything.

Don’t allow yourself to be stuck in a pit of guilt, it is something that will arise frequently and we have to have control over our minds to stop it getting out of hand and realise that sometimes we just need to let go. Whilst it is the emotion that makes us questions our morals and judgement, it only needs to be brief to have its desired effect but after that becomes detrimental. Don’t punish yourself!


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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