which can be either beneficial or damaging.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Though guilt is most often presented as a negative and destructive emotion, there is this neglected or hidden aspect about guilt: it's a vital component of a healthy conscience and the sign of spiritual sensitivity. This positive and constructive side of guilt which nudges us to offer an apology, make an amend, seek forgiveness, restore a relationship and clear our conscience.
Furthermore, good guilt moves us to accept responsibility for our actions and, as we do that, we develop a deeper humility. Three of the hardest words to say are “I am sorry.” It is our pride, our ego which makes it difficult to speak say those words. Without the prodding of guilt we can deflect responsibility by blaming others, pretending no one noticed our infraction, and or simply justify our conduct.
When guilt emerges in your life, look at it closely. Pay attention. If you conclude your action misfired, take a corrective step. That way, your feeling of guilt will be beneficial, not damaging.