Unhealthy guilt can be an unrelenting source of pain. You may go along in life thinking that you should feel guilty by your actions/words, not just once, but repeatedly. Guilt can also linger around in your thought process, making it difficult to move forward to a place of peace. I wrote a previous post about practicing the selfless act of true forgiveness to others : https://beautifulintellect.com/2017/03/22/forgiveness/
This time around, I want to write about forgiving yourself. Holding on the guilt, shame, etc can be self-destructive and will certainly sabotage any goals. Anger, resentment and guilt can sap your energy and can cause depression, illness along with affect your success. It can be hard to find simple pleasures or enjoy any meaningful relationships/friendships. All of these emotions can take hold and prevent you from letting go of the past and enjoying the present moment.
I believe the first step is in accepting responsibility for your part. Whether in words or actions, accept that you made a choice and express this, preferably jotting down a list.
You can choose to write a story about what happened, including your feelings and your perception of others as well. Evaluate the standards by which you are judging yourself. Are these your values, your parents, friends, spouse, etc? Is it that for many years you may have felt like their approval was needed? Trying to live up to someone else’s expectations can be extremely difficult and it sets you up for disappointment. It is a damaging cycle as others may never approve or you sacrifice yourself and your happiness seeking approval. Although it can be hard, having a sense of remorse is healthy as it leads to corrective action in the future. Spend some time to self-soothe. This can be in the form of a hot bath or a trip to the hair salon/barbershop. Celebrate the small successes also. For me, I find writing letters to myself of understanding and appreciation will create the foundation for my self-forgiveness. Being an empath and/or empathetic has been with me for many years and as I start to tune in to my own frequency/vibration, I learn that a healthy, humble attitude towards circumstances goes a long way. I also accept that perhaps given my awareness, maturity and experience at the time, has had a profound effect on doing my “best”. Like Dr. Maya Angelou has often said : “When you know better, you do better”
If you find that you are constantly experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, self-doubt and/or hopelessness, it is imperative to seek out a professional counselor in your local area. Self-forgiveness is essential for self-healing.