The Charlie Brown Syndrome

Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a  person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard and bears significant responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse. 


Remorse is an emotional expression of personal regret felt by a person after they have committed an act which they deem to be shameful, hurtful, or violent. Remorse is closely allied to guilt and self-directed resentment. When a person regrets an earlier action or failure to act, it may be because of remorse or in response to various other consequences…

imagesThis has been a difficult week on several levels. I won’t go into details, but I have been struggling with that Charlie Brown Syndrome: GUILT and REMORSE. It’s difficult to distinguish the two.

Today I have enough perspective to ask myself, and you, why do rational, reasonably intelligent people carry GUILT and REMORSE when everything in their heads tells them:  Breathe. Let go. (my last blog post)

It is SO much easier said than done.

My core being is centered on not regretting the decisions that I made through my life. I would not be the person I am today without those decisions and the
consequences that followed.

Even buyers remorse?images-1 Oh yes. I’ve had that often enough over the years, and I’ve learned how to rectify buyers remorse or live with it. But that’s a different kind of regret.

Majoring in accounting? Those who knew me 50 years ago and those who know me now see that there is no way that was a good fit! But in 1966, it was a decision based of finding good employment. I was the first in my family to go to college. I went to college so that I could earn a good income. Accounting. And it brought some wonderful people and experiences into my life. A magical love. An unforgettable lesson in assume. A move to Maine!

Fear weighed heavily in my decision-making process. Fear of change. Fear of loneliness. Fear of not blending in. Fear of failure. Fear of losing. Fear governed so many decisions. But I learned from my fears. I eventually learned to face most of those fears. I’m working on others.

I often wonder what could have been if I had followed different paths at different times in my life. But I am reasonably confident that the choices I made were with the best information that I had at that moment in time. (If the Internet and World Wide Web were as developed 50 years ago as they are today, I am sure that many of those choices would have been different. New information.)

I am truly sorry for the pain my decisions and actions may have caused some people 50 years ago or yesterday. Hurt was never my intention. 

I learned awhile back to release the feelings of hurt that I carried because I thought someone had harmed me. I don’t believe anyone ever set out to damage me or make my life miserable. Letting go of those resentments and imagined hurts was a journey in itself and a journey worth taking.

So why do I continue to feel bad about the hurt, resentment or fear that others carry? Intellectually, I know that it is their baggage. But I keep questioning  myself.

  • What did I miss?
  • Why I did’t know?  
  • Why wasn’t I there?
  • Why I didn’t wait?
  • Why I didn’t ask?  

I probably will continue to go through periods of asking  those questions. I will never know the answers. But I will NOT let the guilt, remorse or questions control my life

There are times when Breathe and Let go is hard. I will keep practicing. 

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