I drafted a really long blog about guilt, then looked back at it and yawned. Yet, the workings of “guilt” in our lives has been on my mind lately. How do I discuss this topic without getting long-winded and boring?
A friend of mine, and fellow author, suggested writing it in parts (thank you Susie).
I’ve been feeling guilty of late, for two separate reasons. Each of them have nothing to do with the other.
I also know someone else who’s been feeling guilty for something quite the opposite of my reasons. It dawned on me how many ugly shapes and forms guilt can take, and reek havoc on our lives.
I’ll touch briefly on one of the reasons I’ve been feeling guilty. I had to say “no” to someone and disappoint them. Why do I feel bad for saying “no”? Those same people said the word to me many more times than I’ve ever said it to them. They certainly never seemed to feel guilty, at least not in my presence. So, why do I beat myself up? We can’t always say “yes,” because life gets in the way. What good does making myself guilty do?
Now, to briefly touch on the other person I know, and her guilt. She has what I call, the “if only” guilt. If only I would’ve done this … if only I wouldn’t have done that, then the whole situation might’ve turned out differently.
She’s feeling guilty for something she didn’t even do (it’s clearly not her fault, but she thinks so), and it’s something pretty serious to consider oneself guilty of doing. She is making herself crazy, coming up with all kinds of scenarios that might’ve changed the tragic outcome of her circumstance.
I’ve wondered if her situation is a control issue … someone who can’t let go because they think they can control everything. Or, maybe she wants everyone to see that she has a conscience and knows right from wrong?
Guilt is a tricky thing. These two reasons for guilt are so unnecessary. Why do we insist on carrying such a heavy burden?
Perhaps we can separate the words “guilt” from “conscience.” Feeling guilty for either of these two presented scenarios is unhealthy. We must know the difference between our conscience talking to us to discern right from wrong, and false “guilt” as if everything revolves around us. Do we have an overactive “guilt-gland?”
There are so many more shapes and forms guilt takes. I think I’ll share them in part two. In my over-active, analytic brain, I think I figured a few more things out about it. Come back to check it out (on Monday), and see if you agree with my deductions. Please don’t feel guilty if you can’t make it. 😉
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have a chocolate chip cookie and add a little more guilt to my pile. 😉