Overcoming and Dealing with Guilt and Shame So You Can Get On with Life

by Erika Slater

Woman feeling guilt or shame

Are you an individual who carries around the burden of feeling guilt or perhaps even shame from something that happened to you recently, or even long ago?

Do you believe you need to keep this guilt and shame as a scar, perhaps serving as a reminder to never let anything like this experience happen to you ever again?

Moreover, the question you truly need to ask yourself is, “What is hanging on to this guilt or shame getting you in your life?” I’m guessing there’s really nothing good coming from it other than your internal torment.

What’s is the difference between guilt and shame?

Shame involves feelings about ourselves. It may be our circumstances in life that embarrass us and cause shame about who we are. Guilt comes from our actions and thoughts, and they can be real or imagined. These are complicated feelings and can be damaging if left to become part of your character and your path forward.

The fact is, the feelings of guilt and shame can at a minimum result in lost opportunities and reduced fulfillment in life, and at other extreme… ruining your life.

So why do we dance with these enemies of a happy life?



Woman feeling guilt and sadnessToo many people hold onto their guilt as if they’re wearing a “medal of shame” around their necks.

Some keep this guilt to serve as a reminder for something they did in the past they’re not particularly proud of, or to use as a personal reminder to never do something like that again for greater fear of shame and humiliation.

The problem is when you hold onto your guilt or shame, you accept it as a part of your character. Basically, you’re telling yourself, “I need to feel shame and guilt because it serves me.

Unfortunately, it isn’t going to serve you in the long run well at all!

In fact, the longer you accept it, the more you’re likely to become conditioned to it. additionally, it can become like a phobia. When you develop a ‘fear’ of something, you hold onto it believing it serves you well, protecting you from being harmed.

Guilt and shame work the same way.

If you hold onto it, or repeatedly dwell on it, you can become conditioned to it, truly believing it’s serving you and protecting you.

Did you know you can also learn guilt and shame from others? Guilt and shame can be learned in families and taught to children. They learn to believe it is, or should be, a part of one’s character that protects them from looking bad, being disappointed, or being hurt by others.

There is an old saying, “No harm, no foul!”

Basically, this means if a rule is broken or something goes wrong, there is no need for apology, punishment or retribution, that is of course if no one was hurt, or no damage caused.

Now shame and guilt take this saying to a new level in that, “Don’t try, don’t look foolish!”

This means if you hold onto your shame and/or guilt, you most likely won’t take similar chances again for fear of being hurt. This is what guilt can do to you… prevent you from living and taking chances.

The longer that you hold onto your guilt, the longer you could miss out on what life has to offer you. So, rather than holding on to guilt and shame let’s talk about ways of releasing these toxic feelings.



Woman feeling sorryIt’s time to forgive and forget the past (yourself as well, as you’re being too hard on yourself) and move on with this present moment free of guilt and shame!

But moving on can be impeded by our history.

Understanding first why you feel guilty or shame is step #1. Guilt is not in itself a bad feeling as its serving a purpose. After all, if you were hurtful to somebody or an animal then you may have a perfect right to feel guilty… but not for the rest of your life. Notice I used the word hurtful and not cruel – cruel is at another level and shows malice.

Consider ways you can make amends for an action you took you know hurt somebody. Sorry, really can be the hardest word, but it also mends relationships.

Think about what you learned from the experience and what you’d do if this happened again to avoid reacting the way you did. If you felt guilty because you said something in anger then is there some management things you need to go through? Were you reacting because of something somebody did to you in the past?

Once you understand the guilt and confronting and accepting it to learn from it, then you’ll be positioned to release it and move on.

Shame can come in many forms. It can be because you feel you lack something. Maybe lack of money or upbringing. Maybe your parents divorced or you came from a broken home. A lack of education or literacy can cause people to “hide” from life for fear people will “find their background out.” I’ve even known people who are ashamed of their credit scores.

It seems strange to be shameful of many of these things in this day and age… but people carry the “shame tag” around for even smaller reasons.

Again, understanding and confronting why you feel shame is the first step towards releasing it to move on.

The fact is, long-term guilt and shame has taken up residence in your unconsciousness mind, and releasing what is in your unconscious mind that’s holding you hostage to guilt and shame is therefore key.

Exorcising it from your unconscious mind requires confrontation such as we spoke earlier, but it can be stubborn to release, and if this is the case then you may want to try hypnosis as a way for overcoming your guilt and shame.

Long-term guilt is trained in so it can be trained out, and hypnosis can help here.

Finally, here at Free At Last Hypnosis we practice what we preach. We leverage concepts discussed here as a resource during our stress and anxiety hypnosis management program which you can learn more about it here >>>



The Difference Between Guilt and Shame >>>

Being a Hostage to the Past – Erika Slater >>>

Why is it So Darn Hard to Cope with Stress? Ways to Reduce It >>>

5 Tips for Dealing with Guilt >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

Erika Slater CH
Free At Last Hypnosis

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Interested in making a significant change in your life and interested in learning more about what I do and how I do it? Discover my hypnotherapy services here or contact me here.

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