Welcome back for Part Two of my ramblings on guilt. Part One can be found here. Do You Feel Guilty?
In my first blog on the subject, I talked about two kinds of guilt. 1) Having to say “no” to someone and disappoint them. 2) The “if only” guilt, thinking we could’ve done something different to change an outcome. There is such complexity to the issue that I’ll never touch on everything. It’s still on my mind, so I’ll further the discussion for this one more post.
Another kind of guilt is the manipulation-guilt. Some of us don’t even realize it’s being used on us. It’s when someone uses our good conscience to manipulate us into doing something. It may be something we didn’t want to do, or had to rearrange everything to get it done.
The solution to the guilt-trip is to only do something for someone when it comes out of the goodness of our hearts. If we do something just to avoid guilt, well, we might as well add resentment to that package too.
What about when we’ve said or done something to make a situation worse? Someone else pushes a button and we react. Then we feel bad for reacting. Why? Didn’t the other person start it? Why can’t we defend ourselves? Perhaps it’s just our conscience telling us that two wrongs don’t make a right?
Most women have a care-taking nature, and men are “fixers.” When women aren’t able to take care of someone, and men can’t fix something, we take on the guilt.
There’s no problem so awful, that you can’t add some guilt to it and make it even worse. ~ Bill Watterson in The Complete Calvin & Hobs
We can’t forget accident-guilt either. Our intention was never to cause harm, but somehow we did.
As if we don’t deal with enough guilt in our daily interactions, we now have what I call humankind-guilt. It seems every day we get bombarded with why we humans are to blame for “killing the planet,” or for being “politically incorrect.”
Personally, I find the worst kind is when we feel guilty for something that isn’t even our fault, which I wrote more about in Part One.
“Guilt isn’t always a rational thing, … Guilt is a weight that will crush you whether you deserve it or not.”~ Maureen Johnson in Girl at Sea
We can supply practical solutions to some forms of guilt, and ease our way out of it. Other forms, more deeply embedded, may need therapy. My heart goes out to all who carry this heavy burden; may you find peace.
I know letting go of guilt is easier said than done. Why else would I be writing this out? Perhaps expressing it in words is another practical solution?
As I said in Part One, we can’t rule out our conscience as our guide, we just need to remember to drop the heavy lifting.
In closing, I wanted to come up with some profound statement to give everyone an easy out (from their guilt). Sorry, couldn’t come up with one. But, I did find another quote that I think sums it up well.
Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean. ~ Aldous Huxley in Brave New World