On Guilt

I haven’t posted in a long time. I’m going to try posting interesting essays / thoughts I find in my “On This Day” on Facebook. We’ll see how well they do and/or how long I bother.

With no further ado, on guilt:

Guilt is a powerful emotion. It’s a form of self evaluation in which we introspectively criticize ourselves for past actions. Guilt is interesting in that it’s self applied. While others can influence our movement towards in inherently we must assign it to ourselves for it to have meaning.

So what is the meaning of Guilt? It’s a learning tool. When we feel Guilty about something mainly it’s because we feel that a past action was not handled in a way which we are proud of. We feel that we could have done something more or different and changed the course that we’re on now. It’s Potential – we feel Guilt because we surmise that by changing that action we’d be on a better course than we are now or a better person for doing more – even if it didn’t change the eventual outcome.

The main problem with Guilt is that although it is a learning mechanism it is also potentially crippling. It’s hard to release Guilt, hard to move past it. That same Guilt which we should learn from can cloud future Decisions and cascade into further Guilt.

So how do we handle Guilt? We don’t shy from it – we learn from it. We don’t let drive us – we let it guide us. We forgive ourselves – even if we don’t want to. Even if it’s seemingly impossible. Because in the end though we can learn and though we can made different Decisions in the future we can’t change the Past – it’s inherently immutable. The longer we hold Guilt the more powerful and damaging it becomes. As disheartening as it is we must remember that we are not perfect – for if we were, what a boring would it would be. Our mistakes, follies, misjudgments and failings make this World someplace that’s worth residing it. It’s the payment we must make, Guilt, sometimes for being imperfect.

In the end Forgiving ourselves might be our greatest act of Charity.