Don’t know if its correct to generalize, but I guess, many of us would have regretted or felt guilty for some act of ours.. also it won’t be wrong to state that many tend to hold on to mistakes or wrong actions of others and keep the grudge in mind. Be it either of the case, some find it easy to let go off things and move on, while some remain trapped in the past. I probably belong to the latter category. Had read somewhere people with clean mind and free of guilt, are the ones with bad memory. Means people with good memory (which is considered as a virtue) will never have guilt-free mind??
There are people who commit big crimes like murder, theft and still don’t find anything abnormal about it.. while there are people who cannot imagine killing even the smallest living being.. and hence opt for bare foot walking. May be these are extreme examples to quote but the point here is that.. Feeling guilty or not.. being calm and peaceful from within.. has nothing to do with memory, but more our attitude and outlook towards life.
Why do we feel guilty.. according to me.. that’s because we set certain standards.. certain benchmarks for ourselves.. and have our own rule book which defines what’s right and what’s wrong.. and when we don’t follow it.. (be it knowingly or unknowingly).. at times also go ahead justify our actions.. that’s when somewhere in corner of our mind, the guilt feeling creeps in.. not standing up to our own expectations.. our own rules.. of what is right.. gives arise to such a situation. Social and moral values come much later.. and also don’t matter.. when you are facing yourself.. when you are looking at yourself in mirror.. that matters..
When I look at my life.. I can recollect quite a handful number of incidents and actions.. for which I still feel guilty.. the latest ones – guilt of not being the perfect spouse and perfect parent..
Its painful to be in such a state of mind. One needs to understand and accept (basically I am trying to tell myself) that mistakes happen.. one needs to learn from it and move on.. no point in mourning over it again and again.. what has happened.. has happened.. cannot be reversed.. so take care that such thing doesn’t happen again in future. When you hold a grudge or guilt within yourself.. its you who is suffering and to end the suffering.. you need to have the courage to accept the situation.. face it.. and forgive yourself.
It may sound easier said than done.. but now that I have been consciously trying to forgive myself.. I think it becomes easier once you understand and learn to forgive yourself for the first time. You feel light and free from the burden that you have been carrying all along.. at cost of your happiness.. your health.. your well-being..
A word of caution.. forgiving oneself shouldn’t be mixed with justifying oneself for all the wrong-doings.. taking the same example – I cannot first commit a murder.. then feel guilty.. then forgive myself by saying.. it was a mistake..
Free yourself from the burden of guilt (and grudge).. forgive yourself first.. only then you will be able to forgive others.. only then you will be able to lead a happy and peaceful life. That’s another resolution of mine for 2014