Guilt is a common emotion felt during the grieving process. For many, it is the most overwhelming feeling they experience. More times than not, there is no real reason for someone to feel guilty when someone close to them passes away, however not being there when a loved one passes, or words left unsaid can often cause guilt after a bereavement. Overcoming guilt after a loss can be a difficult task.
There are a few things that you can do to help overcome your guilt:
Talk to somebody about how you’re feeling:
It is essential to talk to somebody about your guilt, whether that be a friend, family member, therapist, or grief counselor. Talking openly and honestly is a key part of overcoming any emotion, including guilt.
Write down your thoughts and feelings:
Writing can be therapeutic and help lessen the burden of guilt that you are carrying around. It can also help to identify any possible triggers for your feelings of guilt.
Identify your main reasons for feeling guilty:
Once you know why you feel guilty, you can start to work on overcoming those specific emotions. For example, if you feel guilty because you were not there when your loved one died, try to remember all of the good times you shared together.
Challenge your thoughts:
Once you have identified your main reasons for feeling guilty, it is important to challenge any negative or unhelpful thoughts that you may have about the situation. For example, if you keep thinking “I should have been there”, remind yourself that there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome.
Beating yourself up will not help you to overcome your guilt. It is important to be kind to yourself and understand that you are dealing with a difficult situation in the best way that you can.
Focus on the present:
Guilt often stems from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Try to focus on the present moment and what you can do in this moment to help yourself feel better.
If you are struggling to overcome your guilt, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist or grief counselor can provide you with support and guidance as you work through your emotions.