Is guilt harmful or helpful? Part 2

7 Major Forms of Guilt Part 2

The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence by Dr. Robert Anthony

5. Sexual Guilt

“Conditioned since childhood on the evils of sex, it is impossible for the average person to enjoy certain forms of sexual pleasure without the sense of guilt.” If your value system included any form of sexual expression that was considered “morally unacceptable,” you were made to feel guilty and shameful.”

6. Religious Guilt

“Through mistaken interpretation of perfection, many religious denominations instill guilt in those who do not meet their moral value judgements base on their interpretation of the Scriptures.

7. Self-Imposed Guilt

“The most destructive form of guilt is that which is self-imposed.  This is guilt we impose on ourselves when we feel we have broken our own moral code or the moral code of society. It originates when we look at our past behavior and see what we have made an unwise choice or action. (Notice that he didn't say wrong or bad) We examine what we did- whether it was criticizing others, stealing, cheating, lying, exaggerating, breaking religious rules, or committing any other act we feel is wrong- in the light of our present value system.

In most cases, the guilt we feel is an attempt to show that we care and are sorry for our actions.  Essentially what we are doing is whipping ourselves for what we did and attempting to change our history. What we fail the realize is that the past cannot be changed. There is a world of difference between feeling guilty and learning from the past. Going through a self-inflicted guilt sentence is a neurotic trip you must stop if you want to develop total self-confidence. Feeling guilty doesn't build self-confidence. It will only keep you a prisoner of the past and immobilize you in the present. By harboring guilt, you are escaping the responsibility of living in the present and moving toward the future.


Did you notice the times you felt or made someone else feel guilty yesterday? Today really notice when you use self-imposed guilt. Once we are aware we can then choose something different.

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Quotes from: Dr. Robert Anthony, The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence (New York: The Penguin Group, 1979), pages 63-65

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