Guilt Weighs Me Down
In response to Chizuk Boost #572: Bad Remorse Versus Good Remorse someone wrote:
Thank you very much. I needed to hear this, and it is very true point. But what should I do when I try to be positive and move forward with joy and optimism, but then the thought comes "But how can you really be happy? You know what you did, you did disgusting things etc. You don't deserve to just be without guilt!" I try to push away these thoughts because they only lead me to be depressed. But how should I react to them?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you probably don't feel this way about other aveiros like missing zman krias shema, speaking lashon hara etc. - especially if you've already done teshuva for it (even though our Sages often use similar ways to describe the severity of these sins). The reason is, because those things aren't as private, and we know that many people are nichshal with them - so we just do teshuva and move on. However with this, since it's such a private area and we have no idea what others do, it's easy to think that there's something wrong with us instead of thinking that it's something wrong that we did.
As member "Hashem Help Me" wrote on the forum:
"You are not a rasha or a loser. You are not defined by this action. Most of us began when we really did not truly understand the severity of our actions. By the time we did realize, we were quite hooked. You daven, you learn, you do chessed, you respect parents and rebbeim, that is who you are. You have a bad habit that has to be dealt with, but you are not bad. Hashem does not hate you."
The yetzer hara loves it when we feel we're unworthy. Because when we feel bad about ourselves we're more likely to go back to the same behaviors, because we're looking for a way to make the pain go away. And then we feel even more unworthy, and then repeat the cycle again...
So remember that these thoughts are just nonsense coming from the yetzer hara who wants to keep you hooked. All the yetzer tov cares about is actually stopping, and it's much easier to stop when you feel good about yourself.
P.S. If you feel that you didn't do enough teshuva, you can set a time on your calendar to do a 15 minutes of teshuva, and then once the time is up, tell yourself that you're done.