Psychological Self-Help

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If your expectations of yourself seem to have been unreasonable,
decide what are reasonable and fair expectations and tell yourself that
your feelings of guilt have been excessive and harmful. Remember,
how bad you have been in the past is not nearly as important as how
good you are going to be in the future. 
Kaufmann (1973) says, first, it is impossible to know what is just
or fair. Then, second, he says that unless you know or feel certain that
you justly deserve to be punished (which is impossible), there will be
no guilt. Thus, he reasons, since few people can be certain they
deserve punishment, there is no justification for guilt about past
deeds. This seems like a weird notion to most people, but think about
it. Kaufmann recommends we replace the useless, harmful guilt we
have about the past with a keen sense of social responsibility for the
present and the future. That makes sense. Note the difference: 
my guilt=my badness vs  my fault=my responsibility
vs regret=wish to change things
vs humility=ambition to do one's best
"It should have been" vs  "It can be better in the future"
wallowing in past sins vs  planning future improvements
This is a powerful argument for focusing on planning a responsible
future, instead of dwelling on your (or anybody's) guilt of the past. It
is a way to atone. Don't use it as a way to cop out and forget your
transgressions, because this will encourage you to be immoral again. 
So far as science knows, there are reasons for everything. All
behavior is potentially understandable (if we knew all of the cause and
effect laws). A determinist would say that all behavior (thoughts,
feelings, and acts) is the natural, inevitable, "lawful" outcome of past
experience, environmental influences, and inherited or physiological
factors. Thus, if all behavior, no matter how saintly or how evil and
including our "awareness," our "cognition," our "will," and our
"choices," is determined by historical and outside influences, how can
we--our conscious selves at the moment--be totally responsible for
everything we think, feel, and do? If we (our conscious selves) aren't
totally in control, then we aren't entirely responsible or guilty. 
Imagine someone else was "in your shoes," i.e. had your body,
your family background, your memories, your knowledge, your needs,
your dreams, your friends, and environment, would they do, think,
and feel as you do? I think so, just as you would be them if you were
in their shoes. ("There, but for the grace of God, go I.") You are
uniquely you because of all these historical, environmental, and
physiological differences. The laws of behavior are the same for
everybody; only our experiences, environment, and bodies vary. At
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