The young princess proudly shows off her masterpiece to the queen, who does not approve of the painting. The queen sees how this stops the princess in her tracks, and she senses her own incompetence and sorrow, as she considers how she would like to be able to meet the princess at eye level and help her develop her talent and find recognition. Many years later, the queen still has feelings of guilt.

''Once upon a time, there was a woman who felt guilt. She did not know that this was because she owed herself something.''

The notion of guilt

When we feel guilt, it is because an improper act or omission causes us to owe ourselves something: the acceptance that, at the time, we were incapable of acting differently, due to a lack of personal skills.

Viewing our behaviour from a distance, we wish we could have acted differently. That is a fine and healthy response, but it is in fact an illusion without any basis in reality. Our guilt is generated by the consequences of our improper behaviour and the gap between the wish and our personal skills at the time.

We owe it to ourselves to acknowledge this and to use our feeling of guilt as a basis for development and change.

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