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Monday
Mar152010

Guilt vs. regret

When we feel guilty, most often we equate ourselves with a behavior which we believe has made us a bad person.  Guilt differs from regret, which we feel when we realize we did something that has hurt someone or when wish we had done something differently.  The core difference between the two is that when we feel guilty, we identify with the behavior, whereas with regret, we identify the behavior without internalizing it.  Labeling the behavior as bad (regret) versus labeling ourselves as bad (guilt) helps us detach ourselves from the energy that is causing the guilt and allows us to choose how we wish to resolve it.  We may wish to make amends to whomever we have hurt, or we may choose to live mindfully in the future as to not repeat the unwanted behavior.  When guilt lets go in favor of regret, energy shifts from a negative space to a potentially positive space. 

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