Does Beating Myself Up Prevent Future Mistakes?

Does Beating Myself Up Prevent Future Mistakes?

​Often I hear how people live in a tremendous amount of guilt over their own shortcomings. They believe that these “shortcomings” (ie: being critical, blaming, anxious, reactive) affect, and maybe even hurt, their loved ones and this belief creates a lot of pain.

My question is this: When a human being is in a healthy state of mind, one of love and understanding, present to the moment, does he/she act inappropriately? In this space do we hurt, criticize, blame or overreact?

However, when we are innocently lost and duped by the compelling chatter in our minds, we can act in some outlandish kinds of ways. When we get interested in the guilty, judgmental or critical thinking that visits us (usually because we don’t see this thinking as thought…we just believe we are viewing reality objectively), we can do and say things that we may regret later on when our mind settles down.

Now I am not condoning being critical of your children or blaming your spouse, but will beating yourself up for behaving this way bring about the change you are looking for and relieve the guilt?

Not only won’t it bring about the change you are looking for, it will make your behavior worse. Why? Because as I beat myself up, I put more judgment on my mind. I continue to think more about me. More thought leads to more raciness which leads to more behaviors.

Deep within each of us, beneath all of the tumult of our mind, is a space of pure love. A quiet space. A resilient space. We don’t awaken it by trying to think about it. We don’t awaken it with more thought about what we are doing wrong and how we are destroying our children and marriages because of our behavior.

But when we awaken to this space (when thought falls off our mind), the answers we seek about how to quiet our minds, how to behave better, how to stop beating ourselves up arise.

When we awaken to this space, we touch the truth that the people we are concerned about affecting or hurting also have this resilient space within them. As guilt falls off my mind, common sense and wisdom take its place.

Which direction am I looking in to prevent future mistakes?

Ride The Wave

By Aviva Barnett, MSW

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