Guilt is sadly a function of one of the biggest illusions on Earth, namely than man is sinful. If you sin (and you must, for otherwise you wouldn’t be human), you must be punished. And the extent of the punishment always corresponds to the amount of guilt you feel. The guiltier you feel (regardless of the nature of your “sin”), the more misfortune actually descends upon you. And if by any chance you don’t feel guilty to begin with, at some point you are likely to start feeling guilty for not feeling any guilt. The result is the same – you expect to be punished, i.e. you assume the role of the victim. And that is exactly what happens. You punish yourself in all sorts of ways, denying yourself what rightly is yours. In most cases, the punishment you give yourself is making yourself (or rather, your physical body) sick. You have to suffer for your sins, right? And what better way to experience suffering than creating intense physical pain? Doctors call this “cancer”. Objectively, (part of) your body is eating you up. Subjectively, guilt eats at you. In truth, you are doing all of it by yourself, to yourself.
So, how do you stop feeling guilty? Easily – by taking responsibility! Guilt and responsibility are in complementary distribution. You are either guilty or responsible. Responsible people are always in control of themselves and their emotions. They do not entertain the concept of “sin”. Instead, they talk about their mistakes. And they understand that mistakes are a desirable part of their learning journey. When a mistake is made, responsible people ask themselves: “What can I learn from it and what can I do differently to avoid the same mistake in the future?” In other words, instead of waiting for punishment (turning into a victim, like a guilty person would do), responsible people take action. They also take responsibility for their feelings understanding that whereas pain is sometimes inevitable, suffering is ALWAYS optional.
Now, how do you know whether you feel guilty or you are being responsible? Here is a simple test: if you feel disempowered when something goes wrong, then you feel guilt and so you are being irresponsible; if you feel empowered, you are absolutely taking responsibility. The choice is yours. Control the things you can, and accept what you cannot control. And remember: guilt creates disease; responsibility transcends disease.