Pages

Friday, July 04, 2014

Get Rid Of That Guilty Feeling

                 Many of us find it easy to forgive others but find it impossible to forgive ourselves. Roman philosopher Cato admits this when he says, “I can pardon everybody's mistakes except my own.“ Yet learning to forgive yourself is one of the basic steps of cultivating the spirit of forgiveness for all. If you cannot forgive yourself, how will you forgive others?
                
                 Forgiving oneself is essential for self-acceptance. This does not mean that we give up our moral or ethical standards and justify all our actions. It only means that we learn to accept ourselves as we are, including our many shortcomings.

                 For some reason people persist in being harsh with themselves; they become inflexible and judgmental. I know a man who carried a lifelong sense of guilt because he could not become a doctor something that his parents wanted him to do. Many mothers refuse to forgive themselves when their children do not turn out right. Wives blame themselves when a marriage breaks down...it is strange, but our acceptance of ourselves seems to depend on others' acceptance of us! Self-criticism is healthy up to a point. But when it makes us ruthless, merciless jailors of our own conscience, it is time to let go of guilt feelings and make a fresh attempt at selfknowledge, self-acceptance and cultivation of self-worth.

                Reasons for which people refuse to forgive themselves may originate from a person's culture ,race, religion, gender or class. Our guilt may be due to personal standards that we have set for ourselves . Or, they may be due to ethical reasons for having done something that is wrong. Self-forgiveness does not imply con doning wrong behaviour. Nor does it mean that you do not feel repentance for your past actions. Accepting this repentance, feeling remorse is part of the healing process. But you must not let the remorse become a permanent burden. It is essential to overcome remorse and move on to face the future.

               In Dostoevsky's famous novel Crime And Punishment, the hero commits the heinous crime of murder. At first, he refuses to acknowledge his guilt, but is tortured by fear and insecurity. This leads to such intense self-loathing, that he confesses his crime and accepts his sentence 15 years of penal servitude in Siberia.
However, he is unable to forgive himself, until he accepts God's love and infinite mercy.

               Persistent guilt feelings even lead some people to contemplate suicide. They feel they do not deserve to live. But this is a oward's way out of the situation.

In the US, some courts give bold and nnovative `sentences' for criminals.

      They are made to do social work, or offer their services for the benefit of the less privileged. Such a sen tence has an extremely beneficial effect on their psyche, enabling them to grow in self-respect and self-worth. This is the starting point of acceptance and progress.

them escape from the conflict and It helps them escape from the conflict and turmoil that rages inside them and to learn to forgive themselves.

Many of us carry on our hearts, heavy loads of guilt which rob us of our peace of mind. No man is perfect. Every one of us has done some wrongs in the past, near or remote. We must repent and, if possible, make amends. We must pray for wisdom and strength not to repeat the wrong and then forget about it.

The moment that an individual accepts and forgives himself, is the moment of renewal, a new beginning.