When a guilty conscience tears away at us

Blog When a guilty conscience tears away at us

Our conscience is a feeling of well-being or discomfort, and there are many theories about it in the fields of religion, philosophy and psychology. We normally act according to our conscience combined with our impulses and instincts. This is a complex subject, but today I’m reflecting about having a guilty conscience, because that is what can really tear away at us.


We demand too much of ourselves

The feeling of having a guilty conscience arises when we act against what we have learned in childhood and the moral expectations that are accepted by society.

We set high standards for ourselves, and that contributes to having a guilty conscience. For example, we have expectations about eating right, exercising enough, being there for children, family and friends as well as taking care of our work and home. All that we want to or ought to do that we don’t have time or perhaps enough energy to do. We feel pulled in several directions, creating a high level of stress in life.

We learn this from an early age, and we are conscientious. We want to be there for others, and of course we want them to “like” us. What we have learned and have stored in our subconscious is what steers us, and we have learned very little about how to handle that in practice. Constantly having a guilty conscience does not create a positive and good daily life for ourselves or others.


Stand firmly in your choice with a clear conscience

I am now in the midst of a situation in life where feelings of a guilty conscience could easily have taken over, and I wouldn’t have been able to help anyone. Just think if it were possible for me to split myself in three parts and pieces of me could be in different places. I think many have wanted that, but that is not how things actually are. This is when it’s important to not let emotions take over, but by using analysis I can sort it out, make choices and stand for them.

No, I cannot split myself in three pieces, but I can divide my time with a little in each place. Then I’m doing the best I can, and can anyone expect more? No, and I shouldn’t expect more of myself either. I need to accept reality and not emotions. I have fortunately learned to take control by using the exercises and techniques we use in the basic course.


Analyze the feeling

I used to believe that others could manipulate me to have a guilty conscience in order to get something, but no one can manipulate my conscience. I am the one that gets triggered by something in my subconscious, so I need to deliberately and consciously choose what I want to think and feel. It’s my head and my thoughts and I am the one that needs to decide. It is possible. Whew, I’m not saying it’s always easy, but I am saying that it is possible to choose.

Using our ability to analyze when feelings are tearing away at us, can help us in all situations. It’s easy to fall prey to that guilty conscience – I always did that earlier, when I didn’t know how the brain and the subconscious functioned. Now I analyze the feeling. It may seem cold-hearted to some, but when I do this then I am able to give right then and there. I can remain in a state of love and empathy instead of feeling frustrated and overwhelmed as I would have earlier. I am then taking care of not only myself, but others close to me as well.

Try analyzing your feelings – it really works!

Deborah Borgen