“If we don't forgive ourselves for our mistakes, and others for the wounds they have inflicted upon us, we end up crippled with guilt. And the soul cannot grow under a blanket of guilt, because guilt is isolating, while growth is a gradual process of reconnection to ourselves, to other people, and to a larger whole.” -- Joan Borysenko
“I have made it a rule of my life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy . . .you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in.” -- Katherine Mansfield
“When guilt rears its ugly head confront it, discuss it and let it go. The past is over. It is time to ask what can we do right, not what did we do wrong. Forgive yourself and move on.” -- Bernie S. Siegel
“Guilt is the source of sorrows, the avenging fiend that follows us behind with whips and stings.” -- Nicholas Rowe
“Light burdens borne far become heavy.” -- French proverb
If someone’s words spark feelings of guilt inside me, it’s not the words themselves that are to blame. Instead, guilt arises from my reaction to the words. We only feel guilty when we personally interpret that we have done something wrong or that we ourselves were wrong somehow.
And so it follows that we can choose to review what’s happened and interpret events differently. If we learn from the experience, it has been meaningful and we can free ourselves from guilt’s harmful negativity.
Guilt is particularly damaging when we carry it for a long time. In effect, we’re dragging the past into the present and this blocks our ability to live openly and fully.
Bring awareness to the situations that gave rise to guilt within you. Look at these experiences without judging yourself or anyone else. Can you open to the deepest needs of the people involved? What are you being invited to learn?
For a powerful spiritual exercise, consider the dualities of right and wrong, punishment and reward, and sin and saintliness. Explore how you can rise above the dualities to embrace wholeness.
And you might want to adopt this affirmation: I am loveable, just the way I am, always.
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