Guilt is the worst experience known to humans. It ties us up in knots and makes us feel unworthy and miserable. First, let me explain that it is not a real feeling.

It is caused by thinking that we have done something wrong. We think we have done something wrong because we judge ourselves or someone else judges us. A child does not "feel guilty" until someone tells her that she has offended someone or hurt someone's so called "feelings”.

Psychologically "feeling guilty" is a conditioned response, not an authentic feeling. In other words, we are taught to feel bad and thus guilty when someone judges us. This judgment can be about anything, such as how we dress, how we move, how we think, what we do.

When the truth is, there is no right way to dress, move, think, or do! The more creative we are, the more ways we can find to dress, move, think and do! Judgment seriously limits creativity.

When someone is offended by your behavior, they are making a judgment against you. They are accusing you of doing something wrong. The interesting thing is that when a person judges you as wrong, they are in fact, defending against their own feelings. This is where knowing a little about energy and psychological dynamics is very helpful.

What I mean is that when your behavior puts another person in touch with feelings inside of themselves that they are blocking and do not want to feel, they become offended. It is the ego that is offended and it is the ego that wants control.

The ego wants you to do what it wants you to do, so it will do anything it can do to keep you in control. The way the ego controls people is to use guilt.

People, cultures and societies over the centuries have used guilt, shame and blame to control their children. The Jewish culture is famous for their guilt and indeed they have developed it to a high art. I was full of guilt myself so the southern families have obviously used it very successfully as well! Guilt is used to condition children to behave as expected.

When you "feel guilty," you think that you have done something wrong and are judging yourself. The result is your energy becomes totally tied up in knots and pulls you in different directions at the same time, with no resolution possible.

You have committed a "sin" and you need to be punished. Pretty awful stuff. So of course being the "good person" that you is, you punish yourself for being so bad by making yourself miserable.

Guilt is the place that you are stuck. No matter what you do, you feel bad. It is a losing battle, an inner conflict where you lose no matter what you do!
It is easy to see that this no win situation is crazy and guilt need not guide any decision you make in your life. Never, yes, never trust guilt! If you have done something you really regret, apologize and stop doing it, otherwise dispense with guilt. Do not let guilt ruin your life.

When I hurt someone's feelings, I usually sense it because I feel bad. I take a deep breath, feel my feelings, go back, and apologize to the person. The last time I did this was in Sweden with one of my students. I told him what I was feeling so he could understood what was happening inside of me that made me be abrupt and insensitive to him.

At first he said it was all right, so I had to apologize three different times to him before he accepted it. I felt better as soon as I talked to him, but I didn't feel complete until he accepted my apology, which meant acknowledging that I had been insensitive to him. As you can see, taking responsibility for yourself is very different from guilt.

So how do you get rid of guilt? Become conscious of your judgments of yourself and stop accepting judgments from yourself or others. Start attending to your own needs and honor them, rather than making them wrong. Feel your real feelings and you will come to know what is best for you rather than what you have been conditioned to think you should do.

You will find that you have been conditioned to think badly of yourself for many, many healthy things. The only way to resolve guilt is to stop making you or others wrong. It is simple. Cease the judgments that you or anyone else is wrong and then you will be able to relax and love again.

Be aware that making someone else wrong is the same thing as making yourself wrong. The psychological law states that how you relate to others is how you relate to yourself. If you make someone else wrong, you are making yourself wrong. That is the reason you feel so miserable.

You will feel relief once you stop making ANYONE wrong. My self-help audiotapes and CD’s, A Natural Process for Opening the Heart, can help you recognize the energy of judgment and guilt so that you can decide to free yourself from these monsters. Forgiveness is really nothing more than giving up your own judgment about something.

There is no right or wrong, only experiences to learn from. So, get out there and enjoy learning, living, and growing. Toss guilt out. Trust yourself and love yourself. Create the life you want and the relationships you want. Try a guiltless way to live. You will be happy and find joy in the daily events of life.

Author's Bio: 

Doris Jeanette is a licensed psychologist and “Sex & Love” columnist, who shows people how they can open up to more love. She has taught and published her uplifting, original physical, emotional energy work internationally. Her audio material, A Natural Process for Opening the Heart, is highly parsed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD. You learn how to open your heart to more love, improve self-esteem and become happy. Jeanette’s soothing voice relaxes the nervous system and touches the soul. Called “the Siren of Spontaneity” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeanette’s alternative psychology teleseminars are available at Her Internet newsletter, The Vibrant Moment and informative web site helps people achieve peak experiences. Call her at 215-732-6197.