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…
This 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? 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.