It is common to feel some kind of guilt or regret after losing a
loved one, an opportunity, or a valued way of life.
If you find yourself feeling guilty about a past action or inaction,
set aside time to think about your feelings and work through the following
Write a list of your "should haves" and
Remind yourself that we all have things we would
do differently if given the chance.
Identify any regrets that you
can act upon, such as thanking a friend who you never properly thanked for an
act of kindness.
Forgive yourself for those regrets that you cannot
act on to correct.
Recognize what you have done well, and
congratulate yourself for it. This may help you put things in better
Be gentle with yourself during this exercise. When looking back on
something in your past, you can usually see the situation more clearly and
think of a better way to handle it. Remind yourself that you did the best you
could, given your circumstances at the time.
If you are having trouble forgiving yourself, talk with a trusted
friend, a member of the clergy, or a health professional. Sharing regrets or
guilty feelings with another person often helps us overcome them.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.