Grieving, guilt, shame and healing

The fact is that life has its ups and downs. This can be as a result of a chain of personal or professional sufferings. As individuals we have different ways of coping. Some of us tend to cope with our hardships by resorting to the abuse of substances including alcohol or other forms drugs that will not only affect our health negatively but can add more suffering to our personal or professional hardships as well as affect others that are around us negatively.

Imagine going out one night to meet up with a friend at a bar where you went to drown your sorrows. Having one too many glasses of wine and the next thing finding that you crashed into a car at a stop light on your way home. Finding that two of the passengers in the car you crashed into are seriously injured and there is no one else to blame but you, the drunk driver.

There is absolutely nothing worse than knowing your actions have hurt innocent people. The feeling that you get from this is shame and guilt. You feel like you don’t deserve to live, that it should have been you instead because you are experiencing hardships and you feel like your life is miserable, worthless and lonely.

Lamia, M. (Emotions: the engine of attention, (2010) p.81) points out, that “the feeling of guilt, blame and shame is the most dangerous especially when you are experiencing your own personal or professional hardships”. The feeling of guilt causes you to experience mental discomfort and pain. No person likes the feeling of pain. So when you start feeling that pain you end up telling yourself that you need to numb or do something to help you forget about this pain.

Overcoming Guilt

Overcoming guilt doesn’t need to be lifelong journey. Taking the right steps and action plan can make the feeling of grief and shame temporary. Here are a few things you can do to combat the power that guilt has over you.

  • Share your feelings with a loved one or talk to someone or people that are in the 12 steps program.
  • Consult a professional mental health practitioner like a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.
  • Share goodwill. Nothing beats the spirits of giving back. Doing good or helping others will assist you to focus off yourself and your problems. Give a helping hand to those that can use your help. May it be animals or people.