Do not dwell overlong on an evil deed you have done.
It is like stirring filth--stir it, the more it covers you.
Rather than waste your time weighing and measuring filth,
begin stringing pearls for the joy of heaven.
You have been faithless? Then balance it by acting faithfully.
The Gerer Rebbe
If someone harms us we may react by making them feel guilty about it. That may be appropriate but it is important is to give them a way out. In otherwords if someone hurts you if you can tell them that you will forgive them if they promise not to do it again you are giving them a way out.
One association that I have caught myself making is between suffering and feeling guilty. When we are children we often suffer because we are being punished by adults for misbehaving and the association we make between the two can stay in our minds when we are adults. When we suffer we may believe we are bad in some way and feel guilt. Some people who are religious react by believing that God is punishing them and they must have done something bad.
Sometimes one's suffering can be the result of bad behavior on one's part. Obviously if we do something criminal we may be punished for it. If our country is doing something wrong it may lead to wars and to our suffering in that way. On the other hand our suffering may be the fault of someone else and we may still react with guilt. It may be the other country who is at fault. Guilt attacks our self esteem, one of the core elements of mental health. Whenever we feel guilt it is important to take the time to evaluate whether the feeling is justified or not.
The effect of manipulating one's partner with guilt is discussed on the Manipulating with Guilt web page.
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