Trans4mind Home Page
~ Making the Human Heart Visible ~
Inspiring Quotes of the Week + Bonuses!

Regret, Remorse, and Guilt

By Dharmbir Rai Sharma

"To err is human, to forgive is divine."

The statement is attributed to Alexander Pope but might be of ancient origin. The essence of it is that a human being is not perfect. There is no one, whether a saint or a sinner, who does not regret having done something in the past. The feelings of regret, remorse, and guilt are basically the same, the difference is only of degree. They are all related to one's conscience and they always pertain to the past.

This brings us to the question as to what is conscience. There is no generally accepted definition of conscience, but it supposes the existence of some faculty that produces feelings of approval or disapproval of one's own actions. In a sense it is a higher self judging the lower one. The feelings of approval create no problems but those of disapproval last long, sometimes, even life long. It is here that the degree comes into play and determines the intensity of the prick of the conscience.

Strangely enough these feelings do not necessarily relate only to things actually done but also to things not done that should or could have been done. This is especially so in the case of human relationships; the more intimate the relationship, the stronger is the feeling of remorse or guilt. It is an unfortunate fact of human nature that the importance of someone or something is felt more acutely in the absence, especially so when it has an element of finality.

Conscience is related to the faculty of discrimination, which in turn is an attribute of the consciousness. It is the discrimination between right and wrong according to one's inner beliefs that depend on the conditioning of the mind. This conditioning is a result of external factors like religion, upbringing, and environment. Therefore the concept of right and wrong varies in individuals covering an incredibly wide range. The feelings of remorse and guilt in different people may vary from nonexistent to overwhelming depending on the nature of their conscience.

The main problem related to these feelings is how to overcome them. Since they relate to past actions or lack there of, it is impossible to remove the root cause. The only thing that one can do is to learn from the error and avoid that kind of behavior in future. But in some cases even that may not be an option. Take for example, the remorse of a parent for having done (or not done) things to a child. The opportunity for doing or not doing those things is lost forever. So what is one to do?

This is where the significance of the above quotation comes in. We have to realize the fact that no one is perfect; everyone makes a mistake sometime or other. Forgiving is an act that takes away the effect of the mistake for both, the subject and object. It is divine, not in any religious sense but in the sense of purification of the Self. When it comes to forgiveness, the most difficult thing to do is to forgive oneself. The difficulty arises precisely because of the fundamental cause of all problems: the subject-object duality. In this case the offender and the offended are one, even though in the initial act the offended was another; in the context of remorse and guilt that offended person is no longer in the picture.

Forgiving is not forgetting either. It is a realization of the fact that there is no future in the past and, therefore, brooding over the past is futile.

Dharmbir Rai Sharma is a retired professor with an electrical engineering and physics background.

More personal development articles at the Counterpoint Article Library

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Looking for a better life?

Trans4mind Training - our series of online, interactive video workshops - presents the most effective methods of personal development, combined with support from expert life coaches. The human heart made visible.

A great way to support your Trans4mind Training is to use these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...
Get a free Hypnosis Download at Facebook

Welcome to the New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
I think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2016 Trans4mind Ltd