In our new Autumn issue, the wonderful Amanda Sophia shared some insight on how we can use guilt as an inner teacher, steering us in the direction of our hearts. To read the full article, grab your copy of the Autumn 2020 issue, or subscribe here to receive one direct to your door.
Guilt as Your Teacher
Self-Love – Fruit of Emotional Inquiry
by Amanda Sophia
You are a good person, beloved. You already have an internal compass within you, so it is time to start trusting yourself. Guilt may show up as a teacher, asking you why you are not trusting yourself and why you punish yourself.
Though guilt can relate to a deep commitment to ethics, it often involves self-sabotage: “I made a mistake, therefore I am bad and I should suffer.” You may feel guilty for something you did, or didn’t do but wanted to do, something you think you did or something you didn’t do enough of.
If guilt is connected to the past, realize that it is normal to wish that you could have done more or to wish that you had made a different decision. It is normal to question your decisions and behaviours. It is healthy if you do so with self-love and self-inquiry, avoiding berating yourself.
Natural guilt is hard-wired into the nervous system, an internal compass helping you to identify unethical behaviour and change course. Destructive guilt is painful and self-punishing and creates a feeling that you are always in the wrong. Objective guilt might be related to social or political actions for which we need to take responsibility and resolve in the present moment, not let fester.