Has your conscience let you down

Bad conscience: how to deal with it

A guilty conscience arises for a variety of reasons. Missed the call from the boss because you just finished dinner with the family. Skipping the after-work beer with friends because you stayed in the office longer to finish writing the concept or left your partner waiting because you were out with friends. Actually, you should be everywhere at the same time in order to always be able to do justice to everyone. It almost seems a shame that you cannot clone yourself yet, because your guilty conscience is a constant companion. So the guilty conscience affects how we feel and how we make decisions. The question remains: is there a way to escape your guilty conscience?

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Meaning: What is a guilty conscience?

A Everyone knows a bad conscience and you've felt it too: the nagging feeling that keeps telling you what you should have done differently. Just imagine that you promised a friend that you would help him move - but suddenly the devil broke loose at work, boss and customer make you stressful, you have to work overtime and forget that your friend was carrying packed boxes waiting for you.

As soon as the realization sets in, your guilty conscience becomes noticeable. It is the inner voicewhich makes it clear to you: That was not right, you have every reason to feel bad and ashamed of your behavior. The guilty conscience speaks up every time you subconsciously think you should have done something different.

Your guilty conscience in many cases is that Discrepancy between personal behavior and personal values. If what you do does not match the self-image you have of yourself, a guilty conscience develops. If you see yourself as a reliable person, for example, you are particularly troubled by the breach of duty described above and you will have to struggle with your guilty conscience for a long time.

Conscience is that moral compass of a human. In the course of life, it is equipped with the rules and values ​​of the culture in which we live. Conscience lets people differentiate between right and wrong and deduce from this which actions should be carried out and which should not be done. It warns of possible mistakes and stupidities and thus fulfills a social utility value.

On the other hand, the guilty conscience is one big spoiler. For many people it is hardly possible to escape from their own conscience. With every decision, every act, it is there to remind you of what you shouldn't have thought of and what you should have done instead. A kind of self-determination, but guided by external expectations. In a nutshell: If your guilty conscience determines your everyday life too much, it also makes your life less worth living.

Symptoms: How a guilty conscience manifests itself

How quickly and how strongly a guilty conscience becomes noticeable depends of personality of each and every one of them. Some people always think they are right, make every single one of their decisions with full conviction, do not regret any step and are therefore also at peace with their conscience. Even when others are disappointed, these people can justify it to themselves and thus avoid a guilty conscience.

Others already feel their guilty conscience when they meet a friend or a colleague turn down a request because they do not have enough time to fulfill their own tasks and obligations. How exactly the body reacts when we feel guilty and fear that we have acted wrongly can vary. Some complain of a headache, others feel more upset.

In addition to the physical signs, feelings of guilt are also expressed by others uncomfortable symptoms:

  • You blame yourself. Anyone who has a guilty conscience condemns their own approach - regardless of whether they can do something about it or even had a real choice. You take the situation very seriously and doubt your own abilities and decisions. The greater the guilty conscience, the stronger and often more unjust the self-criticism that you practice on yourself.
  • You are under pressure. A guilty conscience needs to be cleared up - and as quickly as possible. This is how you hope to get rid of your guilty conscience, guilt, and feel better. This pressure causes you to act rashly without thinking about the further consequences.
  • They want to please everyone. A wish that many have anyway, but which is reinforced by feelings of guilt and conscience. Because of your guilty conscience, you believe that others think just as badly of you - so do whatever you can to please those around you.

A guilty conscience affects how freely we act

We humans like to say that we free and self-determined are. We believe that we live our own life as we wish. But when exactly is this really the case? When we are honest with ourselves, we juggle numerous duties on a daily basis:

  • The mandatoryto do the job well.
  • The mandatoryto run the household.
  • The mandatoryto look after the family.
  • The mandatoryto be there for friends.
  • The mandatoryTo maintain contacts.

Everything always revolves around duties. This list could go on and on. The duties are those own expectations and those of the environment coupled

The fear of not doing justice to these and risking a guilty conscience is looming on the back of the neck. The feeling of having an eye on every appointment, of constantly having to be reached and available, determines life.

You are not free to decide, but driven by your guilty conscience. Independent and self-determined action is becoming less and less; instead, a guilty conscience is waited for in order to show the way.

Overcoming a guilty conscience: Good tips against a bad conscience

It's hardly possible that get rid of guilty consciences once and for all. Sooner or later everyone has to deal with the uncomfortable feeling that they screwed up something that is now on their minds. On the one hand good and helpful, so that you can iron out mistakes and avoid them next time.

Often times, however, we have a bad conscience for no real reason - and you can do something about it. The following tips can help you take better control of your guilty conscience:

  • Accept your mistakes

    Always thinking of everything. Do justice to everyone. Aren't you asking too much of yourself? You are only human, you forget something and make mistakes. Striving for perfection makes you unhappy and puts you under unnecessary pressure. Those who do not accept their own mistakes will constantly suffer from a guilty conscience.

  • Don't try to do everything yourself

    Many employees develop their skills, especially on the job excessive sense of responsibility. You are solely responsible for keeping things running. In part, you are too, but only in part. Trust your colleagues to have everything under control. Then you may not be available sometimes. If your guilty conscience drives you to be available anytime, anywhere, your boss and colleagues will get used to it and take advantage of it.

  • Question your guilty conscience

    Let your guilty conscience criticize you, however not bully. Your conscience is there to alert you that something is going wrong. But you decide when to listen. Sometimes you just have to wake up deaf. Do not only make decisions out of a guilty conscience, but because you feel like doing something, for example.

  • First wait

    Whether a guilty conscience indicates serious misconduct on your part or is unfounded, shows up over time. Instead of acting immediately, you should therefore wait and see. If the feelings of guilt increase, there is a need for action and you should clear up your conscience - if the guilty conscience is already subsiding, there are many indications that you felt bad for no reason.

  • Focus on the present

    You'll miss a lot if you never do enjoy the moment, but are already somewhere else in your mind. When spending time with your family and friends, your focus should be on the here and now. Of course, this is difficult when there are still tasks waiting for you on the job. However, you need this time-out - and you deserve it, without having to feel guilty every time

  • Think about yourself

    If you only think of others, you forget yourself. Treat yourself to a little selfishness. Every now and then ask yourself: What is important to me? What do I want to spend my time with? Then allow yourself to do just that. For example, if you would like to read a good book, you should free up the time you need to do it. During this time, some of your duties can wait without feeling bad.

  • Boost your self-confidence

    The greater your self-esteem, the less you feel guilty about. Not only will it be easier for you to accept and stand by your own mistakes, you will also meet more self-determined decisions - regardless of whether you please all of them.

A guilty conscience makes employees better

If you believe a study by Scott S. Wiltermuth of USC Marshall School of Business and Taya R. Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University, you can bad conscience can be useful to business. They found that people who feel guilty are among the most dependable and hardworking in the workplace.

They often take on a disproportionately large part of a task, have a larger work volume, behave more morally and conscientiously than the rest - and when it comes to salary claims, people prone to guilty consciences are more reluctant. They are more based on average values ​​or what you think you have to deserve.

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September 18, 2020Author: Nils Warkentin

Nils Warkentin studied business administration at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen. On the career bible, he is devoted to topics related to studies, career entry and everyday office life.

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