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When Guilt is Good

7 Clues That Your Baggage Needs Handling

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Bird girl painting on wood

Lost Wisdom by Adrian Landon Brooks

Though guilt is often presented as a negative and destructive emotion—a burden to be shed—there are positive and constructive aspects to guilt. When guilt appears in our lives, it’s a signal to take a second look at what is going on. Recognizing and responding to the source of guilt with wisdom, maturity, and compassion liberates us to live in a healthy relationship with others and with ourselves.  1: When it moves us to accept responsibility for our actions.  “Someone who can’t acknowledge responsibility and guilt cannot and will not change. And just as a disease cannot be treated until it first is diagnosed, a sin or an evil cannot be corrected until it is acknowledged and admitted,” notes Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of The Book of Jewish Values. As an example, he tells of an acquaintance who seldom acknowledges his errors. Whenever an issue emerges in his life, the man blames others and refuses to identify his own complicity in the matter. “I once told him that of all the people I knew, he was the one for whom I felt least optimistic about the future. Since he was neve …

Victor M. Parachin M.Div., C.Y.T. is a Vedic teacher, yoga instructor, Buddhist meditation teacher, and instructor at Yoga Spirit Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He researches and writes extensively about Eastern spiritual philosophy and is the author of numerous books, including Stretch Yourself!: 365 Great Reasons to Do Yoga and Swami Vivekananda: Essential Writings. 


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