Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sorry I hurt you

Taking responsibility and saying that you are sorry about something you did wrong is one way you can let go of guilt. Guilt says, "I did something wrong and so now I have to feel bad." There are two kinds of guilt.

Helpful Guilt

Guilt is an emotion that comes from the conscience when you have done something you know is wrong. Guilt works to nag you so that you won't do harmful things again. Guilt helps you look at your behavior and say, "What I did was wrong for me and it hurt someone else. I won't do that again." This is helpful guilt--it gets you to change something that you are doing that doesn't fit for you.

Extra Guilt

There is another kind of heaped-on-guilt that is not helpful. This is extra guilt where you feel like you are at fault even when you know that you didn't do anything wrong. This guilt is NOT productive. It just hangs around like a bad habit bugging you and making you feel rotten. Separate out your extra guilt from your helpful guilt.

Use this imagery to let the bad kind of guilt go. Close your eyes and picture yourself going deep inside your body and collecting all the unnecessary guilt and putting it in a bag. Then picture yourself sending it to the moon, the center of the earth or anywhere safe where it will be neutralized. Breathe deeply and picture your guilt being released.


You can let go of the helpful kind of guilt after you made amends to the person you hurt. Making an amends is an apology to tell someone that you are sorry for what you did. You make an amendment to your behavior--you add something that makes it right by saying you are sorry. Making an amends is a correction technique where you address your regret that you have hurt the other person.

You can tell the person to his or her face what your are sorry about or you can write a letter. Or you can even talk to that person's angel and tell them of your regrets that you hurt the person. Even if it has been years and years ago since you hurt someone, you can still write about it and say that you are sorry.

Take time now to write a letter to the person you have hurt. You may choose to send it or not, but writing it, saying you are sorry and feeling regret can help.

Guilt is only necessary as an emotion to get you to stop doing harmful things or pushing you to do things we know you need to do that you have been avoiding. Any other guilt can be released as it doesn't do anything for you anymore. Get someone to help you if you can't do it by yourself. You just don't need to hold on to nonproductive guilt!

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