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 are, you punish yourself for being so bad by making yourself miserable.
You are stuck; no matter what you do, you feel bad. Guilt is a losing battle, an inner conflict where you lose no matter what you do!
It is easy to see 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 rule your life.
When I hurt someone’s feelings, I usually sense it because I feel bad, not guilty. I take a deep breath, feel my feelings and go back and apologize to the person.
The last time I did this was in Sweden with one of the 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 apologized three different times before he accepted my apology. I felt better as soon as I talked to him, but I didn’t feel complete until he accepted my apology.
Taking responsibility for yourself is very different from guilt.