Dr Greg Popcak gives some sage advice on making spiritual progress over at his blog:
To forgive ourselves doesn’t mean letting ourselves off the hook. It means refusing to give into the temptation to heap coals on ourselves for having failed. St Francis de Sales in his Introduction to the Devout Life reveals the folly of this approach when he notes that our sins tend to be in a flawed attempt to make ourselves feel better. Therefore, the worse we make ourselves feel about our sins and failings the more likely we’ll be to sin again in that same pathetic attempt to making ourselves feel better for having sinned! It truly is a vicious spiritual cycle. If we were to apply Augustine’s formula for forgiveness to ourselves, we’d have to say that forgiving ourselves means surrendering our natural desire to hurt ourselves… for having hurt ourselves. Think about that a minute. How quick are we to heap pain on ourselves for having hurt ourselves? Does that even make sense? How is that supposed to help?
Go here to read the whole article. Good stuff.