Our Secret Burden
A title that can only mean one thing. Our old friend, guilt. It hangs around unbidden and without apparent reason – who knows why – perhaps one of our children is miffed about something, or your boss gave you that look when you went home on time. How easy it is to let it in. And if the weather’s grey, and there’s a national election campaign going on…
It’ll be gone tomorrow. This I know. Indeed, it may even be gone in an hour or two. Fifty years has at least taught me that it passes, so I’m better than ever at not dwelling on it. Except for sometimes. Y’know. I think there’s a spectrum of combined hope and understanding about guilt, that helps us get beyond it quickly or otherwise. Our experience and knowledge, and s determination to have a positive view, determine where we are on the spectrum.
Make no mistake – guilt is useless. Actually it’s worth than useless – it’s harmful. This is not to deny the great value of taking responsibility for one’s actions, being accountable, and even remorseful – but guilt… that’s just dangerous territory. Where are you on the dealing-with-it scale? And how do you deal with it?
“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, Brave New World
“Feel no guilt. Getting married and giving birth does not mean that you have sold your life away to perfectly healthy people who can get their own damn socks.”
― Jennifer Cruise