What is guilt?
Unwarranted response to an imagined offense
Unless you actually killed someone (which I’m assuming 99.9% of my readers have not) then you are imposing this idea of having “wronged” someone else. Caregivers feel guilty for many reasons, however; if you take time to look at the needs and circumstances at the time of your decisions you will find, more often than not you did the best you could with the information you had.
Based on impractical expectations we put on ourselves
Caregivers tend to be over-achievers which means that we have the tendency to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves when it comes to caring for someone we love. Remember, you are human and as a human you are not capable of being perfect.
A story we have created about a situation
It has been said that hind sight is 20/20, however; in many cases hind sight can be skewed by perception and emotion. Focus on the facts of the situation as opposed to the emotional response to the circumstances.
Setting the Stage to Let Go
Trying harder isn’t working – you can try as hard as you want, however; it really is an exercise in futility. Base your evaluation on facts vs emotion.
Guilt destroys people emotionally and physically – letting go of guilt is the best thing for your mental and physical well-being. The pressure that carrying around guilt causes can affect your physical health, emotional health and cause stress in your relationships.
Did I purposely set out to harm my loved one? – Most likely the answer is a resounding NO.
Did I make decisions as best I could under the circumstances? – Hind sight may be 20/20, however; we don’t have the luxury of this insight while making sometimes major life decisions for others. Evaluate your decisions based on what you knew to be true at the time the decision was made.
Most importantly the only person who can make you feel guilty is you
Make it a priority to forgive yourself
By Sue Salach-Cutler
Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years. She is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an Eldercare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.