Feeling guilty should be temporary.

All of us mess up occasionally. We do something we shouldn’t, something we regret.

Sometimes our screw up is public, sometimes private, and sometimes known only to us. Often, we respond to making a mistake by feeling guilty. We wish we had done otherwise and berate ourselves for our action.

When we do something ill-advised, it is important to recognize the unwisdom of what we did. We may wish to make amends to other involved parties to try to make the situation right. We may also want to understand what we could have done instead that would have lead to a better outcome.

But past that point feeling guilty serves no purpose. It only ties us to the undesirable event through self-directed unpleasant emotion. If we stay in that groove, we’re more likely to repeat the mistake again, which then leads to another cycle of regret, guilt, and self-loathing.

Today’s message reminds me that guilt is a signpost to make a change, not a pit in which to wallow. When I use a temporary sense of guilt as motivation, I release it and move on to choose wisely.

Please reflect and share. What is your relationship with guilt?