Guilt and Other Excuses for Denying Self-Lovesam
Re-Creating Your Self by Christopher Stone
Continuing our exploration of Self-love as an essential tool for Re-Creating Your Self, the very nature of evil was examined in our last column. Evil was revealed for what it is: a product of mortal mind and not an eternal verity divinely created and mandated. In exposing the inherent nothingness of evil, we also revealed the Devil as nothing more than a fictitious character representing the ignorance that separates humanity from the knowledge of our Original Source, or God. We suggested that those inclined to plead, “The Devil made me do it!” might more accurately admit, “Ignorance made me do it!” I pointed out that the beliefs in evil and the Devil can separate you from the healthy self-love required to become the person you want to be, living the life you desire.
These aren’t the only false, self-limiting ideas that keep healthy self-love at bay. There are others. Among them is unnatural guilt.
IS THIS GUILT TRIP REALLY NECESSARY?
Often it is a belief in the value of unnatural guilt that separates the Re-Creating Your Self student from falling in love with him-her self. Natural guilt is not supposed to separate the individual from healthy self-love. Simply put, the only positive purpose of a sense of guilt is to remind you to act better in the future. Guilt is one way that your inner self points out, “Behaving as you did made you feel poorly, so behave better in the future.”
Natural guilt is meant to be your teacher. The lesson is this: To feel better, you must behave better. After you’ve changed the guilt-producing action, you become in harmony with natural law, and the guilt disappears.
Guilt was never meant to imply punishment, self-administered,inflicted by others, or doled out by a divinity. The unholy “marriage” of guilt and punishment is a cultural union, not a natural one. It is only because we believe guilt requires punishment that we create situations in which we are punished for that which produces our guilt. Sadly, tragically, self-love is sacrificed on the altar of our unnatural guilt.
The purpose of natural guilt, to remind you to behave better, has largely been forgotten. Today, humankind’s manufactured unnatural guilt serves no positive purpose. It’s no longer a self-generated teaching mechanism, but an artificially-induced bad feeling about your self, commonly accepted from others who would control you.
Here are two examples of natural guilt and unnatural guilt:
Natural Guilt: You feel guilty about throwing your father’s wheelchair down a flight of stairs – with your father in it!
Unnatural Guilt: You feel guilty about not going into the family business because your father wants you in the business, even though your interests are elsewhere.
Natural Guilt: You feel guilty about cheating on your husband because you promised him sexual fidelity.
Unnatural Guilt: You feel guilty about even looking at another man, because your husband tells you that it’s evil to find other men attractive.
In both examples, natural guilt can indicate a better way of behaving. The unnatural guilt serves no positive purpose; it just makes you feel bad about your self. Distinguish natural guilt from unnatural guilt in your own life. Learn from the former; reject the latter.
We’ll wrap this column with a humorous story from a Re-Creating Your Self class student.
Golda Stein attended an early RCYS class with her friend Anna De Maria (not their real names).
During our exploration of guilt, Golda found it impossible to reject the intense feelings of unnatural guilt that kept self love at bay. On the other hand, Anna made slow, but steady, progress in releasing unnatural guilt, and falling in love with her self.
Desperate to assist Golda in releasing her paralyzing guilt, I worked with her on a one-on-one basis. I did everything I knew to help; I even pointed out the progress her best friend Anna had made. Finally, seriously, Golda blurted, “Christopher, you simply don’t understand. We Jews own guilt. Catholics, like Maria, just rent it.”
A Re-Creating Your Self Thought: Forgive your self for the transgressions that produce guilt. Release guilt and come into a sense of remorse: a deep, sincere regret for your wrongdoing. Let remorse be the catalyst for better behavior in the future.
Next time: Self Love & Sacrifice and a Love Letter to Your Self.
Please send your Re-Creating Your Self comments, observations and questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2009 by Christopher Stone