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Guilt is the scourge of our emotional body.    Guilt kills, robs and maims our happiness.  It lies in wait, partnered with shame, in the shadows of our consciousness; much like a predator lies hidden in the tall grass eager for its prey, hungry for the kill.  

What does guilt kill in us?  Our good.  And, it destroys our ability to accept the good that comes our way and our capacity to contain the good, both in big ways and small ways:

We have trouble accepting a compliment.
We lay awake at night, miserable and sleepless.
We over-apologize and under-adjust.
We withdraw.
We let doomsdayers persuade us because we‘re weakened by our own dismal mind management system.
We share our troubles and not our triumphs – the big ones and small ones.
We let fear-based thinking dominate our minds, while love-based thoughts recede to the background.
We deny happiness.
We remain in frustrating or often unacceptable circumstances of many kinds because of the now notoriously common condition:  unworthiness.

A little bit goes a long way

According to Psychology Today writer, Paul Glanzrock, in an article titled, In Praise of Guilt, he suggests that a little bit of guilt allows us to manage our mistakes maturely and conscientiously, but a little bit can go a long way.

"Levels of guilt and self-esteem are closely related. Individuals with low self-esteem are more prone to deep feelings of guilt than those with high self-esteem."

Crime and punishment

"Guilt is the same mistake in another form," advises the late, great spiritual teacher, Aquarian, Hugh Prather, in his classic work on A Course in Miracles, The Quiet Answer.

In a court of law, the justice system determines crime and punishment, once and for all.

In the ego's courtroom, we are tried repeatedly for victimless crimes and given mandatory and continual punishment, often to the degree of inhumane treatment.

Where did we learn this?  Does it matter?


Analyzing the problem or negative condition doesn't miraculously transform the issue from bad to good.  

"Why did I do that?! Why did that happen?!  How could so and so say such a thing?!"

One of my favorite spiritual practices is giving up asking 'why.'  When I stop asking 'why' about a situation, circumstance, condition, experience or whatever, the story ends.  As soon as we stop re-acting about something, it's over, and, then, we can move on.

Or, as my wise Aunt Sharon from South Carolina is prone to advise, "Build a bridge and get over it!"  She’s an Earth sign.

The answer to the question, 'why,' rarely changes the feelings that are prompting the pleading question.   The question, 'why,' keeps us in our heads, safe from feeling the feelings; but, feelings are what make us human.

And, the answer doesn't usually change the outcome, and never gives emotions a free pass.  We still have to feel the feelings of life or live as robots covered in flesh.  

Our feelings can liberate us when we express them, or enslave us until we express them and release them.  

Thoughts That Weaken You

In an excerpt from his brilliant masterpiece, Authentic Wisdom,  Taurean, Dr. Wayne Dyer, teaches us that thoughts of guilt and shame can have a tremendous impact on our total well-being:

“If a simple thought will make the muscles of your arm go weak or strong; imagine what it must be doing to all of the other muscles and organs of your body! Your heart is a muscle that’s weakened by thoughts that disempower (dishearten) you. Your kidneys, liver, lungs, and intestines are all surrounded by muscles that are affected by your thoughts.

The thought that makes most people the weakest is shame, which produces humiliation. The importance of forgiving yourself cannot be stated strongly enough. If you carry around thoughts of shame about what you’ve done in the past, you‘re weakening yourself both physically and emotionally.

Similarly, if you use a technique of shame and humiliation on anyone to get them to reform, you‘re going to create a weakened person who will never become empowered until those shameful and humiliating thoughts are removed.

Removing your own thoughts of shame involves a willingness to let go, to see your past behaviors as lessons you had to learn and to reconnect to your source through prayer and meditation.

After shame, guilt and apathy thoughts make you the weakest. They produce the emotions of blame and despair. To live in guilt is to use up your present moments being immobilized over what has already transpired.

No amount of guilt will ever undo what’s been done. If your past behavior mobilizes you to learn from your mistakes, this is not guilt; it’s learning from the past.

Releasing guilt is like removing a huge weight from your shoulders. Guilt is released through the empowering thought of love and respect for yourself.  You empower yourself with love and respect, letting go of standards of perfection and refusing to use up the precious currency of your life, the now, with thoughts that only continue to frustrate and weaken you.”

Who's the guiltiest party in the Zodiac?  

Fire signs.  The idealism associated with all three of the Fire signs (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius) lends itself to feelings of guilt when life doesn't go the way idealism dictates.  Fire signs are also the most prone to the crippling condition known as perfectionism.

"Life should be this or that way!  People ought to be that or this way!  Things are supposed to be this way!"  “I could be perfect!” These are all battle cries from our idealistic Fire sign warriors.

If there's no Fire sign handy, guilt will assault the Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) until they collapse into a depressive state, or simply shrink back from their happiness factor, leaving guilt satiated, satisfied and smug.

Air signs and Earth signs tend to be more detached and pragmatic, respectively.  

Air signs (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius) want to keep things moving along and guilt is too much of a show stopper, as far as they're concerned.

Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn) are realistic – the opposite of idealistic - enough to recognize that the human condition is both fragile and resilient at the same time.  Guilt is a waste of time so they tend to move through it more easily than their zodiacal siblings.

       If You Are Unhappy  

Once upon a time, there was a nonconforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter.

However, soon the weather turned so cold that he reluctantly started to fly south. In a short time, ice began to form on his wings and he fell to earth in a barnyard, almost frozen.

A cow passed by and crapped on the little sparrow. The sparrow thought it was the end. But, the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy, able to breathe, he started to sing.

Just then a large cat came by and hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds. The cat cleared away the manure, found the chirping bird and promptly ate him.

The moral of the story:

1. Everyone who craps on you is not necessarily your enemy.

2. Everyone who gets you out of the crap is not necessarily your friend.

3. And, if you're warm and happy in a pile of crap, keep your mouth shut.

The author of this favorite story is unknown, but appreciated.

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda L wrote Mar 5, 2012
    • Love your post - thanks for sharing! Yesterday so many unpleasant memories from the past entered my mind and I felt so guilty and worthless. Your post helped me understand that a Saggitarius is prone to feelings of frustration when life isn’t ideal and that I need to let it go. Thanks for the wisdom!

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kim Carson wrote Mar 5, 2012
    • Hi Linda,

      I’m so glad this helped.  Yes, Fire signs tend to struggle more than any of the elements, but understanding these tendencies helps so that you don’t become overwhelmed by your own challenging patterns.

      Thanks for your comments.  Take care.

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