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Getting Over A Guilty Conscience

Guilt can be seen as a wasted emotion when we take into account that the Earth is a classroom and we are here to learn lessons. We are bound to make errors on our journey here and would not be living properly if we didn't make occasional mistakes. Yet we can get caught up in the guilt game when we do the wrong thing, which stops us from moving forward. What it is about guilt that traps us and makes us feel less than valid?

Guilt

One way to deal with guilt is to first off recognise that this emotion is only supposed to be a temporary feeling that can lead us to learning a bigger lesson. Other emotions like anger, confusion, and even in some cases regret all lead somewhere and have a purpose. Anger can tell us something isn't right in our environment and allow us to take appropriate action, or regret helps us to realise what we might have done differently, but what is the purpose of guilt when it hangs onto us and seems to lead nowhere?

The Purpose Of Guilt

Guilt typically occurs when we do something we wish we didn't. We also may experience shame or a feeling of sorry. We may wish we could take our actions or words back, often because they were rash and weren't thought through properly. However guilt does not have to be experienced negatively; we can turn it around to make it more positive in that we don't repeat the same behaviour ever again. How can we do this?

Think of a time when you did something that now, in hindsight, you wish you didn't. You're probably aware of many better ways to deal with the situation rather than falling back on the negative behaviour that you actually did. But this is okay, because now you know the difference. It's a huge step to realise that you learned a lesson and that inside you really do feel regret or sorrow. This is the point of guilt - to take you to a place where you feel sorrow and then let it go.

We are never meant to hold onto guilt forever as it's a debilitating condition. It's an emotion to take us to the place where the lesson is learned, yet it's never the destination. We get to guilt, we think further upon what would be a better action, then as we learn, we let go of the guilt and we forgive ourself. We make sure we would never repeat the same situation. The only reason guilt hangs around is if we are not prepared to stop the behaviour. If you keep repeating bahaviour that causes guilt, you become a victim to it and are not learning the lesson.

What Happens When Guilt Stays With Us

Normally, we let go of our guilt as we learn a better way of dealing with the situation. We may feel guilty that we yelled at someone for something they said, or maybe we ignored them or took it out on them. Yet now that we've thought it over, we realise we feel bad for a reason, so we search inside to find a better way of dealing with it the next time. Once we come up with an option, a better behaviour that would not make us feel guilty, we can let the guilt go once and for all. The next time we're in a similar situation we'll know what to do and our behaviour has improved. But what happens when we can't let go of guilt?

In this case, something has prevented us from learning a lesson, or we may have decided to punish ourself. We can be quite harsh on ourself in dealing out punishment, yet we all deserve to be free of guilt. Why are you punishing yourself or not forgiving yourself? Remember once you have felt the guilt for an appropriate time you are free to release it again and set yourself free.

How hurt was the other party in this situation? Only if you hurt someone especially deeply, for example you cheated on a partner, does guilt stay with us for a prolonged time. Some people keep cheating if they can stand living constantly with the guilt, or they learn to ignore it. At some point the guilt will come home and the cheating becomes real. In such cases, guilt may be appropriate to feel for years if the other person was hurt badly or the relationship ended.

What if we've done something we feel is quite unforgivable? What if we hit another in anger, stole, spread mean gossip or did other actions that hurt another and now we feel terrible about it. In many ways, we need to feel terrible and let that feeling work through us. Such negative feelings have a reason to exist and often bounce back as part of our karma. We made someone suffer and now we find ourself suffering as a consequence. That's the karmic kickback; we have to deal with what we put out there.

In such cases, time tends to take care of it eventually. Sometimes a person can secretly feel guilty for years if they did something wrong they feel very deeply about. Our feelings change over time, so whilst you thought you had good reason to do what you did, over time things come back to haunt us as we get a higher view of it. We have to live with what we did. We may not need to disclose our actions but of course we know what it was, and we regret it.

If you feel this way, congratulate yourself for coming to this big realisation. Now that you truly do regret it, you are fairly sure never to repeat this action and you have grown. This is pretty fantastic. So whilst you still feel guilty, the guilt will lessen just a bit each day and meanwhile, you are a better person now. Acknowledge it and know it. It's a big step.

Forgiveness

I love the topic of forgiveness because it shows we live in a compassionate universe. God IS compassion. As Jesus explains to us, we just need to forgive ourself most of the time and that can be the most difficult part. How do we forgive ourself?

We need to acknowledge we are "human" and to be human is to err. Even upstanding people have moments they regret, moments of making monumental errors. We pick ourself up, forgive ourself and get on with it, vowing to never repeat such a deed again. It isn't the end of the world unless we get trapped in guilt then blame ourself endlessly. We are never meant to do this. Moving out of your guilt quickly is a good way to be an even better person. You can determine how long you punish yourself for, so you can determine how much pain you need to feel. Forgiveness tends to melt away the pain, from others and from yourself. You deserve to be forgiven.

Constant, Underlying Guilt From Childhood

Sometimes from the way we are raised, we make a habit of carrying an underlying guilt with us from childhood. This is merely belief - you either believe you are guilty or you drop the burden and realise you are free. Pick a day that is a new day fresh from mistakes and a day you can be better and do better. You can drop the burden of guilt that has hung around merely from others who tried to put the guilt on you.

Any 'family' guilt coming from the belief of someone else in the family need not reflect your own opinions. People may try to put the guilt on us, however we don't need to carry that. That is rather their burden to carry if that's what they want to do. Let go of guilt from the past, even if things were difficult back then, and know you do not have to carry that with you anymore. Set yourself free and stay positive.

Feeling guilt is a good sign that you are a good person underneath. All you need to do is live right and keep to all the positive things you believe in.

5 Ways To Let Go Of Guilt

To summarize, here are the 5 ways we've discussed to let go of guilt that's no longer needed in our life:

1. Understand that earth is like a classroom and we come here to learn. We are not supposed to be perfected beings, we are supposed to make mistakes. Make allowance for even bad things you may have done; its okay.

2. Guilt is supposed to be temporary and it has a reason, to help us to change. The universe wants us to grow into stronger people. Understanding why you feel guilty will allow you to let it go faster and grow from it.

3. If our actions are very unforgivable, it takes longer to get over personal guilt, and perhaps this is right. Sometimes we have to live with guilt for a bit longer if we, for example, hurt someone else very badly for no real reason. But, after an appropriate time has passed, let the guilt go by realising you aren't supposed to suffer forever. You are supposed to have a life too.

4. Forgiveness is the way home. You, like anyone else, deserves forgiveness and forgiving yourself is the greatest healing gift of all. Forgive all of it and decide to do better.

5. Sometimes we are raised to feel guilt about everything. Really think about what you have done wrong. Was it really bad enough to punish yourself with constantly? Learn to get over constant guilty feelings and realise you are not responsible for every little thing. Free yourself once and for all and now you can life as you should, as a guilt-free person.

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