When You Feel Guilty About Success, Here’s What You Can Do!

Last Update on January 3, 2023 : Published on January 3, 2023
When You Feel Guilty About Success

Success is what we all strive for; no matter what our circumstances are. It’s something we want to celebrate and achieve, and while many of us spend endless months and years creating a pathway to success, there are times when we feel almost guilty for success, achieving success, or becoming successful.

There’s no surprise that years of hard work need celebration, but then why do we feel guilty about success? Is there a simple reason behind this feeling or is there something more serious?

If you’ve ever felt guilty about success, yours specifically, then you are not the only person who feels this way. There are many things you can do to overcome this guilt about being successful and that’s what you’ll be exploring more in this article.

Before we get to the ways you can overcome feeling guilty about success, let’s take a look at the reasons you may experience success guilt.

“Why Do I Feel Guilty About Success?”

Well, as I said, you’re not alone when you feel guilty about your success. It is a unique experience, different for each individual. It could be a precious success shaming experience that could make you feel this way or it could be a fear of success that’s making you feel success guilt.

Whatever the circumstances, here are some common reasons why you might feel guilty about success;

1. You are the first in your group to achieve success

Yes, being the first in your group – whether family, friends, or coworkers – can make you feel success guilt. For you, success might look like uncharted territory, and you might feel that by being successful, you’re abandoning your loved ones.

2. You worry that success came without hard work

Living in society, we’re taught that success needs to come with hard work. If you don’t work hard, success is not for you.

So, when you achieve success without visible signs such as spending hours upon hours working a desk job or tolling away your sleep and rest, it might make you feel that your success came too easily. This could cause feelings of guilt to rise and make you feel like you don’t deserve the success you got.

3. You feel that other talented people aren’t as successful

Sometimes luck can play a big role in your success but not always, right? So there’s no saying why you achieved success while other, more talented people, didn’t.

If you achieve success, then you may feel guilty because other people worked hard and are talented but aren’t as successful as you. This kind of thinking can also make you feel guilty about success.

So, when you feel guilty about success, what can you do? Let’s take a look!

How To Overcome Success Guilt?

Difficult feelings pop up here and there but there are always ways you can work through them. So, if you’re feeling success guilt, here’s what you can do;

1. Know That What You’re Feeling Is Normal

The first step to working through any problem or difficult feeling is to acknowledge that it exists. Remember that you are not the only one who feels this way. There could be some feelings like guilt that can be hard to acknowledge but that’s the first step.

Know that it’s OK to feel guilty about success. This happens to everyone so there’s nothing to feel ashamed over. What you’re feeling is normal and OK. Allow yourself to feel the emotions instead of fighting or suppressing them.

2. Don’t Deny Your Feelings

Once you get that it’s OK to feel guilty about success, the next step is to allow yourself to feel it. Don’t deny your feelings. Take time to work through the guilt. One of the best ways is to journal about it. This technique can help you ease anxiety and anything else that comes with feeling guilty.

Also Read: 10+ Best Gratitude Journal Apps For You to Try Right Now

Not denying yourself the guilt can also help you understand the intensity of them. Not accepting your feelings can also cause a guilt complex to be born and you need to avoid it. A guilt complex can take over every aspect of your life. So, allow yourself to feel the guilt and work through it slowly.

3. Help Others With Your Success

If you’re feeling guilty about success or feeling bad that you’re successful while others aren’t, then you can use your success to help others. You can engage in acts of kindness and make charitable donations to feel better. This is not just a step to help ease your guilt but also to help others who need it the most.

Helping others can help increase your happiness and positivity while easing the guilt you might be feeling. You can help by tutoring others, mentoring, or volunteering at a shelter event. What you need here is the ability to understand that your success can help others too.

4. Talk About Your Guilt With Someone

When you experience guilt, accept it, or even act on it, there are times when you still don’t feel better to ease the guilt off of your shoulders completely. If you’re still feeling guilty, then you can talk about your feelings with someone – they could be a friend, a mentor, a coworker, or even a therapist.

If you’re talking to a therapist, then they can help you understand where the feelings of guilt are coming from and how you can overcome them.

Of course, the solution they might help you come up with would be according to your circumstances. The idea is to open up about your feelings and seek how you can overcome them before they overpower you.

Final Words…

Feeling guilty about success can be overwhelming. No one wants to feel guilty over something that is supposed to bring them joy and celebration. If you’re feeling guilty or experiencing success, then you need to first understand where this feeling is coming from, accept that it’s OK to feel this way, and move on.

Once you learn to move on from success guilt, you’ll see that achieving success isn’t all that bad, after all!

I hope this blog helped you understand why you feel guilty about success and how to overcome this feeling.

For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Take Care!

Next Read:

How To Get Rid Of Guilt That’s Bothering You So Much?

Self-forgiveness: High time to Heal from Shame and Guilt

‘Why Do I Feel So Guilty All The Time?’ It Could Be Your Guilt Complex Talking!

Healthy Ways To Deal With Break-Up Guilt

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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