Guilt Quotes To Help You Overcome And Move On

Updated November 28, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Guilt is something that every person experiences from time to time. It is often the result of doing or saying something that we think we shouldn’t have done or said. The feeling of guilt can let us know that we have something in our lives that we need to make right. It can  serve a purpose by showing us where we went wrong. Sometimes, however, the emotion can feel heavy. It can become a problem if we are unable to move on from it or it’s interfering with our daily lives.

Many times, we think we need the forgiveness of someone else to move on, but often, it’s our own forgiveness that we really need. 

What Is Guilt?

Guilt Can Feel Overwhelming.

“Guilt is the total of all the negative feelings we have had about ourselves, any form of self-hatred, self-rejection, feelings of worthlessness, sinfulness, inferiority, incompetence, failure or emptiness. The feeling that there are things in us that are lacking or missing or incomplete.” – Ken Wapnick

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.” – Gretchen Rubin

“Guilt is always hungry, don’t let it consume you.” – Terri Guillements

“I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our values.” – Brené Brown

“Guilt isn’t always a rational thing… Guilt is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not.” – Maureen Johnson

“Denial, panic, threats, anger – those are very human responses to feeling guilt.” – Joshua Oppenheimer

“Guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the body.” – Elder David A. Bednar

“Guilt is a profoundly conservative emotion and as such is not particularly useful for bringing about change. From a position of insecurity and guilt, people do not change or inspire others to change.” – Michael Kaufman

The Consequence Of Guilt 

“Guilt is cancer. Guilt will confine you, torture you, destroy you as an artist. It’s a black wall. It’s a thief.” – Dave Grohl

“Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man conscious of guilt.” – Plautus

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.” – Alan Watts

“Guilt can prevent us from setting the boundaries that would be in our best interests, and in other people’s best interests.” – Melody Beattie

“He that is conscious of guilt cannot bear the innocence of others: so they will try to reduce all others to their level.” – Charles James Fox

“Guilt is a destructive and ultimately pointless emotion.” – Lynn Crilly

“No matter how frustrated, disappointed we may feel in the face of our failures; it’s only temporary. And the faster you can stop wallowing in guilt, blame or resentment the faster you can put it behind you.” – Fabrizio Moreira

“Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal.” Bishop Robert South

“An unpeaceful mind cannot operate normally.” – Watchman Nee

“Guilt is the worst enemy of true happiness and self esteem. It is indeed the worst thing you can ever do to your soul.” -Pamela Baron Waldbauer

“What you believe is very powerful. If you have toxic emotions of fear, guilt, and depression, it is because you have wrong thinking, and you have the wrong thinking because of wrong believing.” – Joseph Prince

“No guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it.” -Stefan Zweig

Moving On From Guilt

“There is no sense in punishing your future for the mistakes of your past. Forgive yourself, grow from it, and then let it go.” – Melanie Koulouris

“To heal, we must first forgive… and sometimes the person we must forgive is ourselves.” – Mila Bron

“The truth is unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli

“With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Wayne W. Dyer

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield

“Moving on doesn’t mean you forget about things. It just means you have to accept what happened and continue living.” – Unknown

“I did a lot of things that I regretted, and I certainly paid for my mistakes. You have to go and ask for forgiveness, and it wasn’t until I started doing good and doing right, by other people as well as myself, that I started to feel that guilt go away. So I don’t have a problem going to sleep at night.” – Mark Wahlberg

“The guilt you feel finally comes to an end when you fully express how it came into your consciousness.” – Luke Garner

“Repentant tears wash out the stain of guilt.” – Saint Augustine

“Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior.” – Mark Victor Hansen

“Mistakes are part of life. Everyone makes them. Everyone regrets them. But some learn from them, and some end up making them again. It’s up to you to decide if you’ll use your mistake to your advantage.” -Meredith Sapp

“Dwelling on past bad decisions you’ve made only allows those decisions to keep defining you. Forgive yourself and move on.” – Mandy Hale

“Don’t be so damn hard on yourself. Yeah, you screwed up. You’re not perfect, fine. Learn from it. But don’t punish yourself. Be kind to you, even when you screw up. You’ll bounce back eventually. You’ll make up for it.” – Stephanie Klein

“When thinking about life remember this: no amount of guilt can solve the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future.” – Unknown

“It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.” -Voltaire

“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one's own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. 

What’s Waiting On The Other Side 

“An exciting and inspiring future awaits you beyond the noise in your mind, beyond the guilt, doubt, fear, shame, insecurity, and heaviness of the past you carry around.” – Debbie Ford

“Forgiveness takes the burden of hate, guilt, and bitterness off your back and, with a lighter load, you can climb higher and faster, and be much happier in the process.” – Unknown

“The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change so that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger but wisdom, understanding, and love.” – Jennifer Edwards

“There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears up the air of guilt and defensiveness but often helps solve the problem created by the error.” – Dale Carnegie

“Your past mistakes are meant to guide you not define you.” -Unknown

“Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.” – Oscar Wilde

“Guilt can either hold you back from growing, or it can show you what you need to shift in your life.” – Unknown

“The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.” – Unknown

Don’t Let Guilt Hold You Back

There are times when guilt can be useful. When you are past that point, your guilt might become harmful. If you have done something that you feel guilty about, you can work to make it right. Start by doing some soul searching about what you did. Next, think through why you did it. If you need to apologize to someone, take that step. Learn how to avoid that same thing in the future. Then, forgive yourself. At that point, you will likely begin to overcome the guilt. 

However, if you try to get rid of guilt without going through the proper steps, you might find yourself having a difficult time moving past guilt. If you need help navigating the path, reach out for help. Reaching out to an in-person or online therapist can help you overcome it. In fact, psychotherapy has been shown to reduce feelings of guilt and shame.  A therapist can help you talk through your feelings and find constructive ways to express your values. 

In a review of literature regarding online therapy, online therapy was found to be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.  Studies also showed its effectiveness in providing treatment for the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which can often be accompanied by feelings of guilt.

How BetterHelp Can Support You

Guilt Can Feel Overwhelming.

BetterHelp has trained professionals who can help you work through feelings. As these guilt quotes have reminded you, it’s important that you don’t lose your future to your past. Talk to a therapist about your feelings of guilt and with guidance, learn how to move through it. 

Because sessions are virtual, you can meet wherever it is most comfortable for you. You can also meet at a time that’s convenient for you. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“He provides excellent incite to my issues that are thought provoking and provides exercises that help me deal with issues of shame, grief, remorse, guilt and then gives me practical exercises to do on my own during times of need and to create a healthier life for myself in my pursuit to recover from trauma.”

“Alta has been amazing in providing me with the tools needed to help get past fear, guilt and anxiety. She has such a gentle and caring way of providing the support I need to make some pretty major life changes. I don’t feel blocked by past problems and am truly enjoying finding joy again. Her guidance has been such a gift!”


Sometimes guilt can be productive. However, if it starts to interfere with your life and feels too overwhelming, it can become harmful. This article contains quotes that may help you gain a different perspective on guilt. If you’re still feeling burdened by guilt, reach out for professional help. Therapy has been proven to help with feelings of guilt and shame, especially for those who have experienced traumatic events. 

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