Learning to love oneself
Guilt and redemption – Konrad Pinegger
A warm welcome to all of you who are here with me and also to all who are watching this video.
Today we will talk about the phenomenon of guilt: let us fathom how, at the very deepest archaic level, we can explain the phenomenon of guilt and feelings of guilt. To this end I will explain laws that we came across through family constellations, through systemic constellations, and then apply these laws to what I see as a reason how we ever get into this eventuality of becoming guilty or developing feelings of guilt.
Yes, guilt is the most fundamental issue that matters to us, because guilt is what keeps us from accepting ourselves 100% the way we are. Guilt is also the most ancient subject. As we can already learn from the story of the Fall of Man guilt is the very first thing that has happened. The human being – the first thing they do is a mistake, something forbidden – and that is how they lose paradise and all these beautiful feelings we connect with it.
You can also see it from a different perspective – that from this Fall of Man we have gained a better understanding of ourselves. Similar to a little child, still living in the symbiotic phase, in the All-One, in the “un-differentiation” of all things and then slowly entering the next early childhood stage in the anal phase where it suddenly realizes that it is no longer in the Unity but that it has become a separate, individual being, separate from all others, now being able to say “I” and “no” and thus experiencing itself as a separate being. It has entered the state of duality or more precisely of the “self” and the “you”, of the division of subject and object.
Thus we are able understand the Fall of Man, which is described in an archaic and metaphoric story, as the story of becoming conscious of our perception of collective and our perception of self, as the story of stepping into our self-consciousness.
The crux, however, is that we experience this self-consciousness, the abandonment of this Unity as culpable and sinful – deep, deep in our unconscious. And that is why it is described in this way in this story – as if we had done something forbidden, something so strictly forbidden that it spreads throughout the whole human race.
But before I go ahead and explain further, I would like to take you on a short excursion and explain some systemic laws that have to do with it, which we can finally apply to this general event.
These laws derive from work with family therapy but mainly from the work with family constellations. As early as the 1960s, when family therapy emerged, it was discovered that certain symptoms can only be understood when one not only considers the single person, the individual, but also their environment. It has been discovered that the family system, as the name implies, is a system in which individuals are much more interconnected than we believed until then. It is as if all are linked to each other through invisible connections, so much that when one makes a decision or changes attitude, it automatically has an effect on all the others, even if no one talks about it. This is a dynamic that holds everyone accountable. No one can escape from it, if they wanted it, they would initiate a new dynamic in the family system.
Later on, when we came to Family Constellations, from family therapy to family constellations, to systemic constellations, we saw that this is true also for the multigenerational family. Compensation and entanglements in the family system can be passed down through several generations. This system is similar to systems found in biology, physics and other areas – it is a homeostasis. We could represent this homeostasis as a symbol, as a round circle.
Excluded event Past
Is compensated …
Blind, systemic conscience
oriented only toward wholeness,
order and compensation/balance
through a symptom,
that another one carries
carrier of the symptom
Because the homeostasis has always to be balanced and complete it strives for balance and completeness. And it does so because of an internal mechanism that controls this compensation. This is the miracle of homeostasis – that it balances itself. When it comes into imbalance, when something happens that upsets its balance (for example, there is a dent, there it has fallen out of balance), then that mechanism controls that balance, possibly creating the same imbalance on the other side, so that it is overall balanced once again.
Applied to the family now this means that what creates imbalance, are serious incidents, heavy fates, someone who died early, has had a heavy fate, has been ill, a victim or a perpetrator, someone who may have accumulated guilt. Everything that endangers the wholeness in this family system, because they do not want it, do not want to look at it, do not want to accept it, because it is shameful, it is denied, displaced, not given a place or excluded. And what is excluded seeks a balance through the mechanism in the family system which we call „blind conscience“. It’s blind because it does not do anything else, it’s a pure mechanism, not spiritual or anything. All it does is to restore that balance and rebalance that homeostasis.
And so, in this way, the baton is passed on to a later born, who unconsciously declares to recreate this balance. And they do it by developing a symptom. The symptom speaks in the symptom language of what has not been seen, has not been given a place and the symptom is now an artificial representative, an artificial balance to bring this homeostasis back into balance. This is a trick, one could say, an inward mechanism of self-balancing.
When a symptom arises we refer to a balance in a negative sense. Of course it is not a positive thing, because this balance needs to be compensated again. It does not really solve anything, but may need to be balanced again in the next generation and so on. It does not result in any real healing. It’s just a balancing of this homeostasis – and it happens in the unconscious. We could say that deep in our unconscious we are remote-controlled by this blind conscience, like an inner computer program that takes us into duty and produces this symptom.
But thankfully there is also – and after all that‘s the meaning of life – a balance in the positive sense. And the step from the unconsciously “taking over the baton” into the positive is to take a step into consciousness. On this side everything takes place unconsciously, like a mechanical system, like a clock one could imagine. If I want to go into the positive balance, then I have to make a step from the unconscious to the conscious, means I have to consciously approve of life looking into the face of my family’s or the world’s fate in general, accepting it as it is and being present without judgment, giving it a place and consciously taking my life.
If what has not been seen has been given a place, then the need for the symptom to create the balance literally falls away. The symptom can then become less or dissolve.
There is a beautiful solution sentence that can be used in constellations to help someone move from the unconscious to the conscious. It goes like this: „I am now going into my own life, into my health, into my fulfillment, into my success and there I make something good out of it, also in your honor and in your memory” (addressing the former ancestor, who lived that fate)!
In that moment, when it is performed with respect and honesty, it becomes clear that balancing in the negative will not help anyone, but that it is much more helpful to bring something positive into the world, to approve of the world and of life, and to make a contribution to it, to accept and take the life as it is, in the face of the fates that have been.
Then something positive is born into the world and I have made a step, a step of growth. I have accepted something, I have chosen reconciliation, I have opened my heart to what didn’t have a place and now it can heal and I can heal and grow. Sometimes guilt still plays a role here. If I want to make this step from the unconscious to the conscious – on this threshold that separates these energy levels – the unconscious from the conscious, I have feelings of guilt. If I move on toward the positive, then I betray someone, I abandon someone whom I’ve tried to help until then to carry a burden, to carry their fate. But the very moment I realize that I’m only interfering in someone else’s fate without really creating a positive impact, I can go right through these feelings of guilt towards myself and start to consciously shaping my life, now moving in a positive direction.
That is, in our development, we step from unconsciously being purely mechanically driven into our true self, consciously shaping and embracing life.
Well, these are roughly the fundamentals of entanglement – why we become entangled and intervene in other people’s fate, through this unconscious control.
We can now apply the whole thing to the phenomenon of guilt in general – understanding that we have collectively incurred this guilt upon us. And now I have to go back to the story of the Fall of Man. If we take a closer look at this picture painted by the story in Genesis, then we see that we have been in a Unity that we call paradise. The paradisiacal about paradise was that we were one with all others, with everything that exists, connected, with everything that could exist, possibilities and all existence, a Unity. And we are still in this Unity – to this day. We only forgot about it. Through this expulsion from paradise, because of this self-awareness that I have talked about at the beginning, we have lost sight of this Unity and of the knowing that we are still connected with all, embedded in the all-encompassing Unity. We have lost sight because we believe in duality, in the separateness that we are shown by the world as we arrive here and become more conscious. As I said before, this is how we come to believe in separation because the world is constantly showing us this object-subject division, and we have lost sight of the Unity, which is still there.
But having lost sight of this Unity, we have fallen out of this Unity. This is metaphorically described and depicted in the story of the Fall of Man and the crucial point here is that we experience this fall and our belief in the duality as culpable or sinful on a deep unconscious level.
From this perspective the seemingly grotesque term of “original sin” may become more accessible to us. Because from one generation to the other – with the awakening of our consciousness as children – again and again we believe in this duality and lose sight of the Unity.
But if we perceive this falling out and the belief in separation as culpable, the next step is that we now seek a solution to the problem. We have thrown out of balance our own, collective homeostasis. We have become guilty – we believe that we are guilty and have now put ourselves in imbalance.
So the next step is that we seek a solution, that we look for something to balance it out, to pay off that debt, to become pure again, to become worthy of the Unity, to return home to where we come from, to return to that paradise.
And what is the next step? The trick is that we seek-how can we atone for this guilt? The most archaic idea within us is that we have to atone for this guilt in order to pay our debt. So we are looking for suffering, yes, and suddenly we are in the situation that we no longer accept ourselves as we are, a 100%, even though we could. There is nobody that keeps us from doing it.
This is how we atone for or try to atone for this guilt. Also by trying to get entangled with something in our family system, because of this blind conscience, with something that is unresolved, that has fallen out of balance in the system. And we start wanting to bear the fates of others or to suffer from this burden.
Of course this compensation is a balance in the negative and does not work. The more we try to atone the more we owe our lives to ourselves and thus we generate more feelings of guilt and we never get out of this cycle -not when we try it with a balance in the negative.
Now, how could a balance in the positive look like? It works likes this – or, we could say, we redeem ourselves by taking back into view and recognizing this Unity which we ultimately have never left, by recognizing ourselves as one with everything, by realizing that we ourselves are everything , and that we are connected with everything and that we are one.
So, if we want to find true healing, regardless of the symptom – underneath the symptom we can always find guilt and the desire to atone. So, if I want to bring about healing, I always have to help someone look back at this Unity. Because when I see this Unity and when I am becoming more and more aware of it, I live differently and I think differently. I will stop the rivalry with others and will now rather have the desire to support others and to serve others rather than being in rivalry. I start to voluntarily sharing with others and appreciating the joy of it and I realize that this is what really nourishes me and gives me fulfillment. To give from an overflowing heart – not out of a sense of duty – which would again be associated with guilt. Simply a giving from the beautiful feeling of being connected to others and being at their service.
Thus the way of healing, the balancing in the positive, is always a way back to this Unity, to what we can call our primeval home. Also the methods I offer, a special form of Gestalt therapy and also the constellation approach, are aimed at re-approaching this Unity, the consciousness of this Unity. As a result symptoms can dissolve and transform.
Our last video was about learning to love oneself- it was about understanding that we are split internally and that we are able to find our way back to a Unity, back to a reconciliation with ourselves. And this reconciliation with ourselves also opens the door to look beyond and to see the all-embracing Unity with all others. Because in reality these two inner parts, this split, are a mirror of everything else present in my external situation, which is nothing but a reflection of my inner being.
How we can use these methods to reach this inner reconciliation and at the same time to clear the way for the awareness of re-recognizing this Unity I would like to show now in the following live demonstrations. Thus you can get a glimpse, an impression of ways that it can happen.
Learning to love oneself
Guilt and redemption
K: Hello Patrizia
P: Hello Konrad
K: We were just talking about guilt and self-acceptance. About that, as long as we believe in guilt, this idea still exists deeply in the unconscious and makes it so difficult to accept oneself. How is this for you? So in this moment, like a snapshot – how much do you accept yourself? To what percentage do you accept yourself as you are in this moment?
K: Ok. What would be the other 50% that are still missing? What do you say to yourself? “That’s how you have to be – then I could love you a 100%. That’s how I should be”?
P: For me, it’s a lot about my appearance, means to speak what’s really inside of me and also in front of a group of people and therefore it’s only the 50% because it always changes from several highs to lows again
K: .. it sways …
P: Exactly, it sways. Yes
K: Ok. Over there on the empty chair there we put the part of you who should do that, who should get better. You are that demanding part and she has to do what you want. So tell her what she should do.
P: “I wish you to be able to express what you have in you, that you stand in the front and yes, expression – the expression – I know that it is there, but then – in the moment when it should be there, it is not. And I wish you could do that.”
K: Ok. Go there on the other side.
K: I cut it short and repeat what has been said, „Be more expressive, be more confident and say what you have to say without fear!“
P: Yes, I’m really scared. Totally afraid to stand in the front and do that.
K: OK. I also explain a bit for the spectators. Here on this chair sits what we also call “inner parent ego state”. That is demanding a lot. As always, this “inner parent ego state” demands „do something and do it right away“ – according to the motto „be spontaneous“. In reality you can do anything, just not be spontaneous. It is not enough to say “perform better”. There is fear.
P: Mhm. Absolutely.
K: Yes and there is perfectionism. In the end it means “be more perfect”. Do you have the impression that this part – that is yourself – is taking this fear seriously?
P: I feel like I’m taking it too seriously.
K: Yes, on this side you do. But also over there? Talk about your fear.
P: So I feel the fear heavily in my throat, in my heart, it doesn’t allow me to …. I can feel it everywhere in the body and I have no more access to my brain. And I feel so completely exposed.
K: Good, please sit down there again.
So, “I’m just scared”, this part says “to do that and then I get really stressed and then I have a blackout and yes, I just ask for your understanding.” – How do you feel on that side?
P: “I think I’ve had enough understanding and it’s always the same. It’s always about the same topic and I cannot understand that it will not improve someday.”
K: Ok, in a nutshell, you say “you’re inadequate, and now come on, pull yourself together a bit and then it works. Do not let yourself go like that”.
P: Yes, yes!
K: Who is talking now?
P: Here now?
P: I cannot pin it down.
K: Who was so strict?
P: Mhm. Well I think when it comes to the parents now – both.
K: Ok. As you can see you have taken the severity of the parents one to one and now you use it against yourself. And that fear, that big fear that she has, is created simply by the great pressure she makes.
K: But do you want to hold on to it or..
P: No way
K: Ok, what do you offer her?
K: Or do you want to keep pushing?
P: No, with pressure nothing works anyway.
K: Did not work, well. So far, right?
P: Exactly, until now.
K: How about treating yourself in a loving way?
P: Yes, I am already trying that anyway.
K: Trying means it’s not that easy.
P: It’s not that easy, no.
K: What’s up to her, what’s so bad about her, that it’s so hard for you to accept her?
P: That she is not at hand in the moments where she should speak up and share the knowledge she has.
Yes, so, what can I offer her? “I can offer you, yes, to be more forgiving and to have more patience – but I do not feel it.”
K: Mhm. What is it really that you want to tell her? There’s a judgement, I feel. Express it.
K: I’m struggling to be loving with you because ..
P: “You let yourself go – I cannot accept that”
K: OK, you cannot accept her – a part of yourself. You try to discipline her.
K: Mhm – will that work?
K: You know that will not work and yet you stick to it.
P: Exactly. Yes. Well, I also discover stagnation from my side. Perhaps I think that time is working for me, next time maybe it will be better, but then the success does not come …
K: I’m afraid it will not work to count on time. And that’s why you are allowed to decide now. Do you want to continue to use everything that so to say belongs to the past, the sternness of the parents, of the ancestors, all that you have assimilated – do you want to continue to use this against yourself?
K: I’ll make you a proposal. At some point she has begun to put herself under pressure, at that time she was very small.
K: Maybe 3-4 years. Can you imagine her at 3-4 years and her situation?
P: Yes, there is simply too much pressure.
K: Where did the pressure come from?
P: Well, the whole environment.
K: So she had to deal with this pressure already from an early stage on. And she had to suppress her own impulses so that she could cope with this situation. If you look at this child, what it has gone through – what are your feelings for her?
P: There’s total sympathy – yes, I want to hug her. She should not experience that anymore.
K: But it’s you who can free her. Take her in your arms. She is longing for this for such a long time – since she was 3-4 years old. At that time you, so to say, have left her almost alone and put her under pressure to meet the requirements. And although it is not your fault, you’ve suppressed her very much. You’ve blocked the channel and you put pressure at the same time – open it, be present and give voice to it!
K: And you locked it at the same time, right? The poor kid did no longer know which way to turn.
P: Yes, right. That’s how I feel.
K: Ok, what do you say to her about that?
P: Yes, “I’ll hug you and I’ll be there for you”.
K: Yes, say „I suppressed you a lot“
P: Yes, “I suppressed you a lot”
K: and I’ve you hurt a lot
P: “and heart you very much”
K: I’m sorry
P: “I’m sorry. I did not know that this would be such a decisive topic at some point.”
K: I’ve found you again
P: “I’ve found you again”
K: And now I stay in contact with you
P: “And now I stay in contact with you”
K: I listen to your impulses
P: “I listen to your impulses”
K: Maybe I cannot realize everything right now
P: “Maybe I cannot realize everything right now”
K: But I’m taking you seriously and I listen to you
P: “But I’m taking you seriously and I listen to you”
K: I stay in touch with you
P: “I stay in touch with you”
K: Will you stay in touch with her?
P: Yes, that feels good, too.
K: Yes. Become one again?
P: And also to be allowed to be small – yes, I think that’s what – so I’m just becoming aware that I am allowed to be small, too
K: Yes – absolutely. She was not allowed to be small, she had to grow up faster – you have pushed her. And that is why in this case being allowed to be small in this sense is your great potential. If you allow this to yourself, then you can be big too.
K: And you can be one with her. You do not have to work against her but you are with her. Yes? It is very important, ok, for you, for me, for all who watch this now, yes, that we keep in touch with what we call the inner child. Always inquire the impulses, ask again and again, „have I suppressed you too much? What do you want? Can I do something for you?“ Ok? To maintain the closeness, this Unity. And if the distance gets too big, as we see here with these chairs, ok? And they could be even farther apart – I lose myself and I work against me, ok?
But when I’m in touch and taking the impulses seriously, then I go with them, and the doors to development are open. I’m sure it won’t take long and you’ll be on stage soon and say clearly what you have to say.
P: Yes, so now I can feel the desire, it does not have to be now, but, I have a feeling that I have to spend time on a small scale.
K: Yes, take your time. You’ll feel it when the time is right.
P: Thank you
K: Thank you
Trailer „Konrad Pinegger – Learning to love yourself – Guilt and redemption – Demo Gestalt
K: Brigitte, you agreed to take part in this demonstration. We have not talked about an issue so I’ll just ask you as I would ask everyone here. „How much, how much do you accept yourself in this moment?“
B: In percentages?
K: In percent, yes
B: In percent. 60%
K: 60%, so 40 are missing.
K: Ok. Yes, we split you up and say, there are the 60% of being in harmony with yourself and there are the 40 missing, ok?
Please tell that Brigitte, that part of you, what she should do better, what should get better, so that you can accept yourself 100%, 100% love yourself the way you are.
B: “Be more careful.”
K: Mhm. Is there anything else?
B: “More careful and handy. Yes, listen more to your inner voice, to your heart.”
K: Ok, good. So let’s have a look at what the other side says, ok? Go over to that chair, please.
I repeat it again so that you can tune in on it. She says, that part says, „Be more careful, listen more to your heart. More handy, be more handy”. What feeling do you get from this?
B: Resistance! Because there is immediately „but you have to“.
K: Mhm, keep talking.
B: “You have to do things the way they are to be done. There are standards, there are obligations and first and foremost they have to be fulfilled”.
K: Ok, wonderful. Go back there, please. Before you answer, find out what does that trigger in you? There are things that have to be done, ok, you just have to subordinate, you have to do it. What -these kinds of sentences, what does that do to you? They are very strict.
B: Complete frustration – in a first moment.
K: Ok, if you express this frustration, how would you put that into words, what do you say to that other part? Without any restriction.
B: “But it’s not like that, I feel that totally different.”
B: That’s not the truth.
K: What is the truth?
B: To be as I feel, as I am.
K: Mhm, does that mean you say to this part „I want to be who I am“?
K: Ok, go there again. – She says „I want to be who I am, not what you want me to be!“
B: “But, that will not work!”
K: Mhm. Go back immediately and feel the dynamic. „This is not possible!” she has immediately suppressed you or is trying to do it.
Did you notice that? Your posture how it has changed? From upright to sunk down? Make the posture stronger, even a little bit stronger. Exactly. Even more, yes, exactly. And tune in and see, what sentence emerges from this posture?
B: First of all, there is an inner anger. This feeling, you are so small, you want to straighten yourself, but you don’t succeed.
K: Mhm. OK. And it’s you keeping yourself down there, right? Can you express the anger?
B: No, it’s trapped.
K: Mhm. OK.
B: That’s like an armour.
K: Ok, you are trapping yourself.
K: Do you want to stay trapped?
K: What would you like to do?
B: Straighten myself.
K: Ok – and when you straighten yourself – slow down – allow yourself to express it. You cannot straighten yourself without turning to the other side that suppresses you. Invisible she is standing behind you and pushes you down, right? So what do you say to her when you straighten yourself up?
B: “Stop! Stop!”
K: Stay tuned! What else is coming?
B: “Not anymore! Stop it here!” I feel a total pain!
K: Express it!
B: ”It’s such an unspeakable heartache.”
K: What does the heart say? Give it a voice.
B: Absolute grief.
K: Mhm, the grief comes from being suppressed, from being trapped. And is there also a wish from this part?
B: To be free!
K: Put that in words for her.
B: “I want to be free.”
K: Ok, go there again. „I want to be free,“ she says. There is much grief in my heart because of the oppression!
So, you have the choice now. You continue to suppress her and keep her under control or you allow a bit more life and freedom to flow.
Do you want to keep control here or allow more freedom and life o flow?
Here is the part of the “parent Ego state”, right? This is identical to the values and rigor of the parents – one to one – as taken on by every human being – and you turn it against yourself. But in this moment, you see, you’re just playing a program. You suppress yourself to meet any ideals. You can keep on doing it or you can stop it.
Over here is what we call the inner child. This is the representative of all vitality, of an absolute originality that you brought with you into the world. All the liveliness, creativity, spontaneity, vitality – everything is there.
And this, of course, is unpredictable. You never know what happens if you let it flow more. And you are on the threshold, you have to take a decision, to let it flow more or to suppress it more. Do you give fear the power or life?
K: Mhm. OK. We’ll check that now. Go over there.
This part has decided to allow more life to flow and to give you more space. What do you wish for concretely in your life that you have not done or have not done for a long time or want to rediscover, that has to do with liveliness and where you need her for the realization? And we can see if she allows it or not.
B: A deep wish is to let my heart speak like, well, there is no concrete example – I could say now I go dancing, I sing, I do all those beautiful things, but I want to realize them inwardly in everyday life, this inner laughter, this inner dancing, this inner, inner singing, even when I am ironing, even when I am cleaning, especially of course in my work.
K: Ok, yes. Is there someone else to whom you would like your heart to speak to more?
B: I do not know.
K: Ok. Yes.
B: That would be a wish.
K: Ok, good.
B: This deep exchange, this communication and this really being in a partnership.
K: Yes, exactly. Try to tell her. “I would like to get involved in a partnership”. Because maybe it was this part that has prevented it so far. Of course, a partnership also brings more liveliness, in each and every respect.
B: But also the fear.
K: Yes, ok. Go over there and give fear a voice. Because fear is over there.
B: To be disappointed again.
K: Yes. That could happen. And what’s wrong with that?
You tried it, right? You went one step further. If we are disappointed it is a good thing, because we have one illusion less. The worst thing that could happen is that someone turns out to be inadequate or inappropriate.
B: Yes, this engagement.
B: The real and complete engagement. Nothing more holding back.
K: So what do you say to this part, „No, that’s too big a risk for me!“? or „maybe we could try it“?
B: Here comes my courage to help me.
K: Mhm. So what do you say to her?
B: “We’ll try, I embark on it.”
K: Ok, go over there.
How does that feel?
B: The heart is thumping a bit more. But I can feel joy.
K: Mhm. Do you trust her? Do you believe her – when it comes to the point, yes?
B: Yes, there is still a bit more of this heart thumping.
K: Mhm. But that’s part of the game, right? Without that it would not be….
B: It would be boring
K: It takes a bit of excitement, to be excited
B: Yes, those are the butterflies then
K: Mhm – that’s the liveliness. It’s about the liveliness. It’s not so much about the partner, it’s about breaking away from rigidity and come into the liveliness and simply opening or being open for something to happen – you can still control it then, right?
So the important thing is to get back from rigidity to liveliness.
And since we are on the subject of guilt – did you deserve it?
B: I often asked myself that question.
K: You already know it?
B: I already know it.
K: And what is the answer?
K: Mhm. And today?
B: Today I say “yes”. From the bottom of my heart! “Yes”!.
K: How did you do that, coming from “no” to “yes”?
B: I opened it
K: Mmm, ok. That’s an interesting message you give us. Because that means, if I open my heart, it has something to do with self-esteem.
K: And with self-acceptance. Only when you become one with yourself can you enter into a partnership that will probably not disappoint you to the point, but give you more fulfillment.
B: I think now „what can happen?“ Even if there will be a „no“!
K: Well, he will leave, maybe. But you could enjoy every minute of it while he is there. And that’s the point. It’s not about holding onto things.
K: But to experience life. This is also possible if the encounter is short.
K: And if you do not hold on to it, it may last
B: Yes, exactly, yes! That’s it, thanks. Thank you very much!
Learning to love oneself – guilt and redemption
A seminar day at Mountainfloat Bad Reichenhall – April 2018
Video, editing, guitar and sound: Volker Lesch
©2018 – Konrad Pinegger und Volker Lesch