Overcome depression now
By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.
When my mobile loses more than 90% of its battery it keeps flashing every now and then to notify me that it needs to be recharged. When my car’s fuel tank is about to become empty an orange light appears in order to notify me that the fuel is about to run out. When my body's food supply is about to run out my body notifies me via the feeling of hunger.
And when I violate my strongest values my mind sends me a message of disapproval telling me that I shouldn't have done so, that message is called Guilt.
Just like any other emotion, the feeling of guilt is just a message that is sent to you in order to motivate you to take an action to resolve a problem that resulted from violating one of your values.
When a thief robs a bank he will not feel guilty because honesty isn’t one of his important values, on the other hand, any other normal individual who believes that stealing is bad will feel guilty in a similar situation. (see the article "its calling you" for more information on the nature of emotions.
The Problem with Guilt
So if guilt is just a message sent by our minds then why does it bother us that much?
Had that person tried to find out why he is feeling down he may have ended up with a solution to the problem or at a least a feeling of relief.
The second one is taking responsibility when others suffer!! Guilt can make you a responsible person but if you take the responsibility of the suffering of others regardless of whether you are guilty or not then you will certainly experience tremendous amounts of guilt. The moment you feel guilty about the suffering of others you have to ask yourself a question, am i responsible for their suffering?
Believing that you could have done better might be the reason behind your guilt,However, you have to put in mind is that you cant always control bad events because you won't always have the necessary resources to deal with every situation you encounter.
For example, if you couldn’t save a friend from getting beaten up because of your lack of courage at that time then you shouldn't feel guilty. Because you lacked that resource (courage) at that time you actually did your best!
You must never feel guilty about something that happened because in fact each moment you are doing your best based on the resources you have. (See the article"Mind resources" for more information on this topic)
This brings us to another way of overcoming guilt, when you feel responsible for the suffering of others just look for a way to increase your resources in order to help them and if you can’t find any way then don’t blame yourself because with your current resources you can’t do any better
carried Over Guilt
Whenever Sarah sees an old woman she does her best to help her and to make her feel happy. That wasn’t how Sarah used to behave five years ago when her mother was still alive. Sarah used to mistreat her mother until she died. After her mother's death, Sarah’s unconscious mind carried over some accumulated guilt that resulted in making her behave that way towards any old woman who reminds her of her mom.
What about you? Do you carry inside you some accumulated guilt? If you do then you need to forgive yourself and to promise yourself that you wont do the things you did in your past. If you were serious about it then your subconscious mind will believe you and you will not feel guilty anymore.
in my book, How to get over anyone in few days, i described how can carried over guilt make you unable to forget someone you loved. If you fell in love with a girl because she looks like your sister (people sometimes fall in love with those who resemble their family members) and if you used to treat your sister badly then you may have serious troubles trying to get over that person just because of the feelings of guilt and not because you really loved her!!. In this case forgetting about that person requires that you learn how to deal with your carried over guilt.
Guilt and Sin
If you believe in God and afterlife, nothing can make you feel more guilty than violating God’s commands. However, if your guilt is related to sin then you should not worry because as soon as you convince your subconscious mind that you wont do that mistake again you wont feel guilty anymore.
Unintentional mistakes result in less guilt than intentional ones. For example, if you were feeling angry then mocked a friend you would feel less guilty than if you slept with the intention of robbing a bank the next day.
So the bottom line is, as long as you commit sins by coincidence and without preparing for them your subconscious mind will find it easier to forgive you.
Guilt as a Method of Control
Self understanding does not only make you feel better but it also helps you protect yourself from the people who might want to take advantage of you.
Some people will try to exploit your human nature by trying to make you feel that you are the reason for their suffering and so be able to control you. That’s why you should be careful and pay attention to the way you deal with others. If you noticed that someone that you didn't hurt in any way is trying to make you feel responsible for his problems then know that he may be trying to control you.
Guilt and perfectionism
A perfectionist is a person who tries to do everything perfectly and if he didn't succeed he feels really bad.
The root cause for perfectionism is usually lack of self confidence and so if you found out that you always feel guilty because of perfectionism then know that your real problem is not guilt but its perfectionism. see the article "To know my Enemy" in order to know more about identifying root causes.
Guilt,Shame and Embarrassment
While guilt is an emotion that is experienced when you violate your values, shame is a feeling that is experienced when you feel dishonored or disgraced. Embarrassment is the feeling you experience when you perform in an inadequate way in the presence of others.
For example, if you fell in a funny way while moving around in your home you wont feel anything but if that happened in the presence of others you will experience embarrassment.
Final Words on Guilt
If you want to get over guilt then don’t carry a responsibility until you become sure that it's yours and always convince your subconscious mind that you wont intentionally violate your values again .
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How to get over anyone in few days? (book)
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