How can i forgive myself for my past

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Understanding guilt

Are you haunted by your past?
Do you feel bad every time you remember what you did?
Are you unable to experience true happiness because of your past?

Most people who experience severe guilt never allowed themselves to understand this emotion for if they have done that they would have found a way out.

Guilt and regret are emotions that usually arise when a person goes against his values and beliefs. Guilt is an emotion that was built into us to help us avoid doing anything against our values. (see also Dealing with internal conflicts)

The main purpose of guilt is not to ruin your life but to help you maintain your personal integrity. Now the reason many people remain stuck with feelings of guilt is that they don't know how to respond to this message sent by their subconscious minds.

Once you know how to reply back to your mind when it sends you a message in the form of guilt then this guilt will disappear and you will feel happy again.

How can i forgive myself for my past

Follow these steps religiously to end guilt and regret for good:

  • 1) Your mind wants to make sure you will avoid doing that in the future: The first thing you need to do to calm your mind down is to promise yourself that you will not do what you did again. Now the subconscious mind might not be fully convinced before you write that down. Writing is one of the signs the subconscious mind reads to know whether you are serious or not. Its not enough to make a verbal promise but you need to write down your intentions. (see also Why you should write a plan)
  • 2) Provide more proofs to your subconscious mind: Nothing can convince the subconscious mind to believe in something more than real life actions. Lets suppose that you felt guilty because you lost your temper and destroyed the TV. In such a case starting an anger management course is an action that will reassure your mind that you seriously intend to not repeat the mistake. Once your subconscious mind makes sure that you won't repeat the mistake it will withdraw the feelings of guilt.
  • 3) Finish the unfinished business: Sometimes guilt happenes as a result of more complicated reasons. If for example you used to treat your mother badly then she passed away you might experience tremendous amounts of guilt. The good news is that the subconscious mind might not differentiate between being nice to your mother or any old mother. In other words, if you started helping other moms or old ladies your guilt will ease. Finish your unfinished business by helping people who resemble the ones you hurt (see How to forget the past)
  • 4) Fix the damage: One of the best ways to end guilt for good is to do grater good then the damage you did. Did you hurt a large number of people? Then what about creating a foundation that helps hundreds of people feel better? Did you fail to save someone who drowned? then become a life guard and save hundreds of people. Did you hurt someone emotionally? Then become a psychiatrist and help hundreds of people feel good. You can always end guilt for good by reversing the damage you did
  • 5) Prevent other people from doing the same damage: One of the advanced ways to end guilt is to prevent others from doing the same damage you did but on a bigger scale. Did you steal something? Then become a police man and prevent others from stealing. Once you feel that you did more good than harm then your guilt will disappear.

The process takes time

You won't be able to end guilt in a day or two. And even though you will experience a great relief as soon as you start applying the previous tips you still need to understand that the whole processes needs some time before it can be completed.

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