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In our journey to inner peace and healing, both guilt and forgiveness of self and others have a profound effect on this process.

Guilt is defined as a feeling of culpability especially for imagined offences or from a sense of inadequacy; a self-reproach; and forgiveness as the act of forgiving or the ceasing of feeling resentment against an offender.

Guilt and lack of forgiveness of self and others, burdens many people with the heavy weight of inappropriate shame and the destruction of deep-seated resentments.

In recent years, much has been written about the destructiveness of repressed emotions and particularly anger and resentment in contributing to life-threatening illnesses.

The belief that feeling emotion means we are weak is a dreadful legacy to burden people with. Teaching people that strength means not feeling or denying our feelings is tantamount to creating illness.

Beliefs such as “big boys don’t cry” and “good girls don’t get angry” has resulted in men and women who are unable to get in touch with what they actually feel. Depression is thought to be caused by anger turned inward and is only one of the symptoms of the need to protect ourselves from the scorn associated with expressing feelings.

Many other illnesses and particularly the addictions are theorized to be expressions of a deep level of emotional pain.

Why won’t we forgive? I believe it starts from our unwillingness to forgive ourselves.  We believe that we are undeserving of love, respect, acceptance, appreciation, and the right to live a life where we walk in peace, joy, harmony, and abundance.

Somewhere along the line, we started to believe that all the rules and regulations of the society in which we live defined who we were supposed to be.

We stopped trusting and believing in our own inherent worth and came to believe that we were “not good enough.” Messages such as “you failed” or “you should” became a litany for us to abuse ourselves with guilt.

 

Continue reading Part 2 here.

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