What do you most regret and feel guilty for? If you said 'nothing' then you are a rare human indeed. Go clone yourself - the world needs you.

Many of my clients are racked by the shenanigans of past woes - real and imagined. It keeps them miserable and self-flagellating.

And here's the crazy thing: they actually think they deserve it.

As if all the 'mea culpa' whining can somehow make retribution for the past.

Guess what people - no amount of suffering and guilt will EVER make up for what happened in the past.

The past is gone. Finito. Finished. Kaput. Done. Dusted. You can't get it back. It's gone. Sayanorra.

So why on earth do you continue to beat yourself up for what happened?

It's due to some demented philosophy of retribution, crime and punishment, eye for an eye, yadda yadda. Cutting off your hand because you cut off someone else's hand does NOTHING to make things right; you just have two people who can no longer hold their knife and forks properly. How on earth does this make things right?

No amount of suffering and retribution will ever make things 'right'. They're gone. It's irrelevant. There is only NOW and NEXT. Not yesterday.

The only way to retribution is to learn from the experience. It's the only way the suffering and past wrongs are transmuted and released.

I think we got the whole idea of prisons terribly wrong. Punishing criminals for their crimes only perpetuates the misery.

Should they be held accountable? Yes. Should they be punished and made to feel miserable? No.

People who commit crimes should be encouraged to learn from their wrongs and to make amends by learning a better, more loving way of being. If we encouraged all members of society to return to love, to return to harmony, to honour and respect life and themselves then the awful suffering of whatever they did will somehow be worth it.

It's not punishment and guilt that rights a wrong; it's forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a pure expression of compassion, and compassion is a pure expression of love.

And who needs the most forgiveness?

You do.

I know you can feel compassion and forgiveness for all sorts of people. But can you and do you feel it for yourself?

In my experience in working with people these last twenty plus years, folks are the hardest on themselves.

How can you love anyone else if you don't love yourself first? And that begins with compassion, forgiveness, and love for yourself.

What are you beating yourself up for? Staying late at work and not spending enough time with your kids? Cheating on your spouse? Eating too much - again? Giving up on yet another project? Self-sabotaging at work to keep yourself from getting promoted? Peeing on your younger brother twenty years ago? Or one of my favourites - not living up to your potential?

All those old woes and past wrongs and your guilt that you wear like a hair shirt do you and humanity a great disservice. The world needs a loving peaceful you - not a miserable, woe-is-me you.

Time to drop the shackles of guilt my friend and step into peace and love.

Coach's challenge:
What do you need to forgive yourself for? Where can you increase the flow of love and compassion in your life? Can you imagine being a leader of love and compassion?

Author's Bio: 

Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Author Zoe Routh works with women in business to enhance their personal effectiveness and leadership capacity for global effect. For free tips on how to become a more effective leader that will save you time, money, energy, and stress, go to http://www.innercompass.com.au