100 Quotes About Guilt

Guilt is a very powerful emotion. It can be motivating, as it makes us want to do better. Guilt can also be dangerous, as it can make us overreact and make mistakes we’ll regret. We all feel guilty from time to time, but we can learn to manage our guilt and make it useful instead of destructive Read more

Here’s a collection of inspirational and insightful guilt quotes for you to choose from and use as you see fit.

If only it were possible to love without injury — fidelity isn’t enough: I had been faithful to Anne and yet I had injured her. The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation. In a way I was glad that my wife had struck out at me again — I had forgotten her pain for too long, and this was the only kind of recompense I could give her. Unfortunately the innocent are always involved in any conflict. Always, everywhere, there is some voice crying from a tower. Graham Greene
She looks at the swings, and I can see she’s imagining what they’d look like if the kids weren’t there. The guilt of this holds her down momentarily. It appears to be there constantly. Never far away, despite her love for them. I realize that nothing belongs to her anymore and she belongs to everything. Markus Zusak
But I have my life, I’m living it. It’s twisted, exhausting, uncertain, and full of guilt, but nonetheless, there’s something there. Banana Yoshimoto
It's exhausting, the energy it takes to unknow a truth.
It's exhausting, the energy it takes to unknow a truth. Chuck Palahniuk
He didn’t deserve compassion. Sympathy. Not even understanding. He deserved worse, far worse than he had ever been given. V.S. Carnes
I have tried to live my life with no regrets....
I have tried to live my life with no regrets. Because regrets will become guilt in some cases, and guilt eats away at your sanity. James Hauenstein
I have moments that aren't too bad, but there's always something I'm struggling with, or feeling guilty about. I just figured I needed to try harder, but I find it difficult to sustain that motivation. William Paul Young
On the ration cards of Nazi Germany, there was no listing for punishment, but everyone had to take their turn. For some it was death in a foreign country during the war. For others it was poverty and guilt when the war was over, when six million discoveries were made throughout Europe. Markus Zusak
Whew, ' he said, 'I'm glad that's over, Thomas. I've...
Whew, ' he said, 'I'm glad that's over, Thomas. I've been feeling awfully bad about it.' It was only too evident that he no longer did. Graham Greene
Guilt is the toothache of the soul.
Guilt is the toothache of the soul. Tommy Cotton
Guilt: it comes in so many subtle forms. It's carbon...
Guilt: it comes in so many subtle forms. It's carbon monoxide for the soul. Sandra Vischer
We are on strike, we, the men of the mind. We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt. Ayn Rand
She has committed no crime, she has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe that whoever breaks it is hounded from our midst as unfit to live with. She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance, but I cannot pity her: she is white. She knew full well the enormity of her offense, but because her desires were stronger than the code she was breaking, she persisted in breaking it. She persisted, and her subsequent reaction is something that all of us have known at one time or another. She did something every child has done-she tried to put the evidence of her offense away from her. But in this case she was no child hiding stolen contraband: she struck out at her victim-of necessity she must put him away from her-he must be removed from her presence, from this world. She must destroy the evidence of her offense. . Harper Lee
Those who are ignorant should be taught all you can teach them; society is to blame for not providing free public education; and society will answer for the obscurity it produces. If the soul is left in darkness, sin will be committed. The guilty party is not he who has sinned but he who created the darkness in the first place. Victor Hugo
Nobody's innocent... but that doesn't reset the bar on guilt. Bryan Way
Definitions from Mulla Do-PiazaPenitent: Someone who has been made incapable of enjoying himself. Idries Shah
Should is my all time least favorite word! It’s this sort of guilt inducing, finger wagging word that we use to beat up others and ourselves. Frank Beddor
Should’ is my all time least favoriteword! It’s this sort of guilt inducing, finger wagging word that we use to beat up ourselves andothers. Frank Beddor
Should' is my all time least favoriteword! It’s this sort of guilt inducing, finger wagging word that we use to beat up ourselves andothers. Frank Beddor
Should' is my all time least favorite word. It’s this sort of guilt inducing, finger wagging word that we use to beat up others and ourselves. Frank Beddor
I see you kneeling in church–stained only by colored windows John Geddes
Pages burnt, memories buried, I wakeor think I'm awake. Or dreaming still? Yong Shu Hoong
Some thoughts should never be conceived. Some questions should never be asked, because they have no answer, and the questions themselves serve only to haunt with grinding guilt and second guessing. Bobby Adair
The brain had its own food on which it battened, and the imagination, made grotesque by terror, twisted and distorted as a living thing by pain, danced like some foul puppet on a stand and grinned through moving masks. Oscar Wilde
That was all he wanted for himself — to give to her. Biff's mouth hardened. He had done nothing wrong but in him he felt a strange guilt. Why? The dark guilt in all men, unreckoned and without a name. Carson McCullers
Never be afraid when God brings back your past. Let your memory have its way with you. It is a minister of God bringing its rebuke and sorrow to you. Oswald Chambers
Just as the room of the Inquisitor in Dr. Talos's play, with its high judicial bench, lurked somewhere at the lowest level of the House Absolute, so we have each of us in the dustiest cellars of our minds a counter at which we strive to repay the debts of the past with the debased currency of the present. Gene Wolfe
Sometimes "No" is the kindest word. Vironika Tugaleva
Why had he committed this terrible sin? Everything in the world was insignificant compared to what he had lost. Everything in the world is insignificant compared to the truth and purity of one small man — even the empire stretching from the Black Sea to the Pacific Ocean, even science itself. Then he realized that it still wasn't too late. He still had the strength to lift up his head, to remain his mother's son. And he wasn't going to try to console himself or justify what he had done. He wanted this mean, cowardly act to stand all his life as a reproach; day and night it would be something to bring him back to himself. No, no, no! He didn't want to strive to be a hero — and then preen himself over his courage. Every hour, every day, year in, year out, he must struggle to be a man, struggle for his right to be pure and kind. He must do this with humility. And if it came to it, he mustn't be afraid even of death; even then he must remain a man.' Well then, we'll see, ' he said to himself. 'Maybe I do have enough strength. Your strength, Mother.. Vasily Grossman
A person must move beyond guilt and unexamined thoughts and motives in order to discover a purpose for living vibrantly. Kilroy J. Oldster
Our minds, unedited by guilt or shame, are not for public consumption, because they would either be hurtful or else just make us look like the selfish and unkind bastards we are. We don't share thoughts, we share carefully sanitized, watered-down versions of them. Jonathan Tropper
That's the strangest thing about this life, about being in the ministry. People change the subject when they see you coming. And then sometimes those very same people come into your study and tell you the most remarkable things. There's a lot under the surface of life, everyone knows that. A lot of malice and dread and guilt, and so much loneliness, where you wouldn't really expect to find it, either. Marilynne Robinson
Surely a good therapist should produce a Dorian Gray-style portrait from under the couch so the patient can see the person they really are. Rosamund Lupton
It's a singular sort of pain, watching the most beautiful creature self-destruct because you weren't able to find the red wire. Joyce Rachelle
We emerge into the light not by denying our pain, but by walking through it. Joan Borysenko
More accurately, on the bed and on the table lay various pieces of what had once been a body. Holmes was leaning with his back against the wall, his countenance deathly white. "The door was open, " he said incongruously. "I was passing by, and the door was open."" Holmes, " I whispered in horror." The door was open, " he said once more, and then buried his face in his hands. Lyndsay Faye
We turned an anthem into an assignment, a poem into a job description. Rachel Held Evans
At this point, I can no longer avoid setting out, in an initial, provisional statement, my own hypothesis about the origin of “bad conscience.” It is not easy to get people to attend to it, and it requires them to consider it at length, to guard it, and to sleep on it. I consider bad conscience the profound illness which human beings had to come down with, under the pressure of the most fundamental of all the changes which they experienced–that change when they finally found themselves locked within the confines of society and peace. Just like the things water animals must have gone though when they were forced either to become land animals or to die off, so events must have played themselves out with this half-beast so happily adapted to the wilderness, war, wandering around, adventure–suddenly all its instincts were devalued and “disengaged.”From this point on, these animals were to go on foot and “carry themselves”; whereas previously they had been supported by the water. A terrible heaviness weighed them down. In performing the simplest things they felt ungainly. In dealing with this new unknown world, they no longer had their old leader, the ruling unconscious drives which guided them safely. These unfortunate creatures were reduced to thinking, inferring, calculating, bringing together cause and effect, reduced to their “consciousness, ” their most impoverished and error-prone organ! I believe that on earth there has never been such a feeling of misery, such a leaden discomfort–while at the same time those old instincts had not all at once stopped imposing their demands! Only it was difficult and seldom possible to do their bidding. For the most part, they had to find new and, as it were, underground satisfactions for them. Friedrich Nietzsche
Are guilt and regret not messages from inside of us, letting us know that our moral compasses have been recalibrated and are pointing in the right direction? Rhian J. Martin
I feel guilty when I feed them unhealthy food they like. I feel guilty when I feed them healthy food they don’t like. I feel guilty when I drop them off at school. I feel guilty when I pick them up at school. I feel guilty mostly for writing this book instead of spending time with them. Jim Gaffigan
Under these circumstances, silence among such a large group of people is an uncomfortable thing to experience. Guilt spreads around even to those who have nothing to feel guilty about. Many held their breath. Or, as I heard later, many did what me and my mum did and closed their eyes. We closed our eyes in a bid to remove ourselves. Lloyd Jones
There was no echo, no reverberation. If anything the room ate sound. It swallowed her voice, her words, and her eternal, inadequate apology. But not her memories. She would never be rid of those. Laini Taylor
I killed it, " Athan lamented. "I am a fool." His righteous anger, his arguments, his adoration for the being who claimed Eldaloth's name faded and disintegrated with all the suffering life behind him. A poisonous dread seeped as deep into his soul as the exultant honor and pride he had felt just minutes before. The vast gap between the two emotions a crater into which his very soul plummeted in free-fall. . Brian K. Fuller
The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time. Not only that, but maybe the basic message of original sin isn't "feel guilty all the time." Maybe it is more along these lines: "We all have a notion of what it means to be good, and we can't live up to it all the time. Paul Kalanithi
Sometimes I doubt that anyone with a philosophical turn of mind is fit to judge anyone. He never comprehends the concept of guilt. Jack Henry Abbott
Mercy is a contingency plan, devised by the guilty in the eventuality that they are caught. Justice is the domain of the just. - Richard Rahl Terry Goodkind
If the system turns away from the abuses inflicted on the guilty, then who can be next but the innocents? Michael Connelly
When you are guilty, it is not your sins you hate but yourself. Anthony De Mello
We’re animals. No shame, no guilt - no sin… Heather McVea
His sins seemed to be so few that he was alarmed and groped anxiously for more, knowing he could not be without guilt. Morley Callaghan
I lay on my side with my head on the pillows and looked out of the window; the blue of the sky was so clear it almost hurt. I felt it come again. I didn't cry much, just a few tears rolling down, wetting my eyes. I wondered about the cause. My thoughts lay embedded in sinews and skin, beyond my reach. Those of you who believe yourselves to be clean, without sin, without guilt, may cast the first stone. I saw myself under a heap of stones. . Unknown
Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, Guiltie of dust and sin. George Herbert
People who excuse their faults and claim they didn't deserved to be punished - there are lots of them. But those who don't excuse their faults and admit they didn't deserve to be spared - they are few. Zhuangzi
You stupid cow! ” He laughed at her behind those icicle eyes. “You really think anyone is better than you? Everyone’s a thief, woman! Waiting for the next terrible thing to do to get ahead of their neighbor. Forty of us around a table weren’t enough to convince you of that? Devon Trevarrow Flaherty
I, however, have really never been anywhere yet, not because some sins or other could wrap themselves around me there, but because I'd rather sin at home, where God even announces the weather to me in advance on TV, slowly, so that I can write it down, in case it's worth the proper guilt. Sinning is enough, there's no need for surprises as well. Elfriede Jelinek
Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God. Oswald Chambers
Expiating a sin does not mean doing something opposite to wallow in guilt, but to use that same guilt to achieve full knowledge of the sin. The fault lies more not in having committed certain acts, rather in having carried them out without reaching their intimate knowledge. And this leads to committing a wrong again and again. Massimo Marino
He [Muffat] experienced a sense of pleasure mingled with remorse, the sort of pleasure peculiar to those Catholics whom the fear of hell spurs on to commit sin. Unknown
You see, sex for Jews is not such a terrible sin. It's just one more physical sport we're gonna stink at. Jaffe Cohen
Look, I don't know who has been telling you over the years that you aren't worthy of love and happiness, but they're idiots. We all deserve it. And if people get hurt along the way, that's life. We've all been hurt. Doesn't that make love more crucial to our lives? Karina Halle
When Gregory says, ‘Are they guilty?’ he means, ‘Did they do it?’ But when he says, ‘Are they guilty?’ he means, ‘Did the court find them so?’ The lawyer’s world is entire unto itself, the human pared away. Hilary Mantel
He felt weighted down by guilt and regret for what might have been his last words to all of them. Karen Ann Wirtz
Vultures pick the meat clean off a bone. Guilt eats at the marrow, leaving a man hollow. Richelle E. Goodrich
A pang of guilt, like a blaring siren, should never be ignored. Richelle E. Goodrich
Consider guilt like a street sign that warns of rough roads ahead if you don’t make a u-turn. Richelle E. Goodrich
Solitude is an interesting companion. It is both enemy and friend, comforter and tormentor. I spent a lot of time in Dun Cinzci's meat locker trying to decide which. Fortunately, when I tired of solitude, I had guilt to keep me company. Guilt is an even more interesting acquaintance than solitude, let me tell you. Solitude is a harsh but essentially benign attendant. Guilt, on the other hand, is a living, breathing creature, cruel and remorseless. It eats you from the inside out; devours what little hope you have left. It feeds on you, growing stronger with every accursed replayed memory, every useless recrimination." ~ Cayal, The Immortal Prince . Jennifer Fallon
Where ever there's guilt there's violence, and if guilt is a smell then violence is a taste: strawberries and formaldehyde and ironish blood. Glen Duncan
When my mother would tell me that she wanted me to have something because she as a child had never had it, I wanted, or I partly wanted, to give it back. All my life I continued to feel that bliss for me would have to imply my mother's deprivation or sacrifice. I don't think it would have occurred to her what a double emotion I felt. I could hardly bear my pleasure for the guilt. There is no wonder that a passion for independence sprang up in me at the earliest age. It took me a long time to manage the independence, (but) I have never managed to handle the guilt. In the act and the course of writing stories, these are the two springs, one bright, one dark, that feed the stream. . Eudora Welty
I touched curiosity, I kissed sin, I felt regret, And I was forgiven. But life won't let me forget. J.A. ANUM
Guilt -- if there was any guilt -- spread out and diffused itself over everybody and everything.. .. Perhaps at some point in time, at some spot in the world, a moment of responsibility existed. Philip K. Dick
I'm not interested in anybody's guilt. Guilt is a luxury that we can no longer afford. I know you didn't do it, and I didn't do it either, but I am responsible for it because I am a man and a citizen of this country and you are responsible for it, too, for the very same reason.. Anyone who is trying to be conscious must begin to dismiss the vocabulary which we've used so long to cover it up, to lie about the way things are. . Unknown
Everyone makes mistakes, Jenna. Everyone has regrets and guilt for things they should have done differently in their lives. Shit happens, and we do the best we can at the time. You can't blame yourself forever. Lara Adrian
Your mistakes are to help you develop your purpose, not shame and guilt. Sue Fitzmaurice
There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose. Sabaa Tahir
Explanations are ghosts of guilt, shadows of sympathy, and I have no use for them. Jessica Dawson
Because even if you buried yourself in guilt, you can't go back and change what happened. Katherine Fleet
My guilt is an ocean for me to drown in. Nicola Yoon
I always ended up doing things I didn’t want to do today just so I didn’t regret not doing them tomorrow. Hilary Grossman
His remorse was purely physical. Only his body, strained nerves, and cowering flesh were afraid of the drowned man. Conscience played no part in his terrors, and he had not the slightest regret about killing Camille; in his moments of calm, when the spectre was not present, he would have committed the murder over again had he thought his interests required it. Unknown
But I rather thought-- I mean, I heard you'd killed Balder the Fair.""I never did, " snapped Loki crossly. "Well, no one ever proved I did. What happened to the presumption of innocence? Besides, he was supposed to be invulnerable. Was it my fault that he wasn't? Joanne Harris
For the last four years of her life, Mother was in a nursing home called Chateins in St. Louis ... [S]ix months before she died I sent a Mother's Day card. There was a horrible, mushy poem in it. I remember feeling "vaguely guilty. William S. Burroughs
Once upon a time there was a mother who, in order to become a mother, had agreed to change her name; who set herself the task of falling in love with her husband bit-by-bit, but who could n ever manage to love one part, the part, curiously enough, which made possible her motherhood; whose feet were hobbled by verrucas and whose shoulders were stooped beneath the accumulating guilts of the world; whose husband's unlovable organ failed to recover from the effects of a freeze; and who, like her husband, finally succumbed to the mysteries of telephones, spending long minutes listening to the words of wrong-number callers. shortly after my tenth birthday (when I had recovered from the fever which has recently returned to plague me after an interval of nearly twenty-one years), Amina Sinai resumed her recent practice of leaving suddenly, and always immediately after a wrong number, on urgent shopping trips. Salman Rushdie
In Revenge, as in life, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. In the end the guilty always fall. Emily Thorne
Guilt is a useless feeling. It's never enough to make you change direction- only enough to paralyze you and make you... well, useless. Daniel Nayeri
There is no need for me to curse you -the murderer survives the victim only to learn that it was himself that he longed to be rid of. Hatred is self-hatred. Thornton Wilder
Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do. Voltaire
Maybe there's more we all could have done, but we just have to let the guilt remind us to do better next time. Veronica Roth
So full of artless jealousy is guilt, It spills itself in fearing to be spilt. William Shakespeare
My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted. Franz Kafka
Diana knew it wouldn't be right, but then she told herself that things only looked wrong when there was someone to see you. Anna Godbersen
You have a good heart and you think the good thing is to be guilty and kind but it's not always kind to be gentle and soft, there's a genuine violence softness and kindness visit on people. Sometimes self-interested is the most generous thing you can be. Tony Kushner
I wish I could say I felt guilty for what I did. I don't. Veronica Roth
A part of me was hoping someone would wake up and hear, so I wouldn't have to live with this lie anymore. But no one woke up and in the silence that followed, I understood the nature of my new curse: I was going to get away with it. Khaled Hosseini
Okay.I will go. But only ifyou will give meyour guiltto takewith me. Lisa Schroeder
We see our sins reflected everywhere: in the pallor of our intimates’ faces, in the scratching of tree branches against windows, in the strange movements of everyday objects. These may be messages from God or tricks of the eye, but in neither case are we permitted to ignore them. Anna Godbersen
Guilt is a useless feeling. It's never enough to make you change direction--only enough to make you useless. Daniel Nayeri
When we played softball, I'd steal second base, feel guilty and go back. Woody Allen
Your job today is to pass gas. You do that and we can start feeding you liquids. No fart, no food. Khaled Hosseini
He could deal with his guilt all by himself. Guilt didn't add up to love, an emotion she was done with forever. Susan Elizabeth Phillips
No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future. Umar Ibn AlKhattaab