A Course in Miracles Blog

Why you believe you deserve punishment and are scaring yourself

  • By Paul West
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  • 759 Words
  • 3 minutes 47 seconds
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Why you believe you deserve punishment and are scaring yourself

If you're afraid, it's because you yourself believe that you deserve punishment.

It doesn't even matter if anyone else is going to come along and do something to you, or if events are going to transpire against you, or if something bad is about to happen.

Regardless of what's going on outside of you, or what form the punishment appears to take, you're afraid because you internally believe that you're guilty, that YOU believe you should be punished.

Guilt automatically implies that you should receive what you are due, and that you deserve it. Believing you are sinful and guilty, you will be convinced that you are deserving of punishment, because having agreed and accepted that you are guilty, you are no longer going to disagree that punishment is justified.

You will in fact, believing in guilt, encourage the punishment of yourself, and will seek it out and try to get others to hurt you. Since you believe that it is true you are guilty, you will attempt to reinforce that belief and prove it over and over again, demonstrating that you are worthy of condemnation and deserve to receive revenge.

If you did something, and you're guilty for it, and you believe that this is true, you also believe that whoever you sinned against is justified in getting revenge, in order to "atone" for what you did. You think that you owe them, because you think you took something away from them. 

And since you owe them, they have permission to come and take from you. This you believe you are worthy of, allow, and accept, and encourage, even if that person is not interested in doing this for you. You will find someone to do it nonetheless.

And so, as you experience the fear and dread that this punishment is going to happen, or is starting to show signs of happening, it's not so much that it's happening that you're afraid. You're not really afraid so much of the punishment itself, or who is going to dliver it.

You're mainly afraid because even you yourself are convinced that you are worthy of it and that you should receive it. Even if that scares you, your own conviction that you MUST be punished because of your guilt, is like a force within you which overrides all other beliefs to the contrary. 

You therefore feel that you KNOW that you MUST be punished and that it WILL therefore happen, and if people don't collude to make it happen for you, YOU will be the one making sure it happens. And so really you are the one who is going to make sure you be punished, because you are the one who believes you deserve it.

And of THIS you are afraid, because even if everyone else fails to punish you, YOU are your worst enemy and are hell-bent on getting revenge on yourself. You will fear your own attack, and the inescapability of the threat you have put on your own head.

Even if it scares you and you're kicking and screaming not to be punished and don't want it, YOU DO. If you believe in your guilt, you ARE going to attempt to punish yourself. And your self-hurting, suicidal ways, will frighten you more than any illusion that someone else is going to do this for you.

So it's not going to really alleviate your fear to just say that you shouldn't be afraid. It's not going to alleviate your fear to have the supposed enemies go away or stop attacking or leave you alone. It's not going to go away just because situations change. It isn't going to go away until YOU decide that you are not going to demand your own punishment.

Until you believe that you are NOT worthy of punishment, you will seek it out, even if it scares the shit out of you. So you must convince yourself that it's not TRUE that you are guilty. And the way to do that is to realize that it is also not true that you really sinned. Whatever you appeared to do wasn't in reality and it wasn't real. Any consequences are not real either. And this is all just part of a dream in which you were mistaken. All mistakes are illusions and are already forgiven.

Thus it is an inside job. You need to let yourself off the hook. You don't need other people to punish you, because you're doing a good enough job of that all by yourself. Forgive yourself. You didn't really sin at all. You are still innocent and holy and God loves you.
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