Guilt is good. I am not saying we should go looking for it or try to increase the amount of guilt in our lives, but the natural emergence of guilt within us has a purpose… and is good for us.
When you do something that you know is morally or ethically wrong, guilt is a good thing. It is the-best-version-of-yourself encouraging you to return to the right path. If you didn’t feel guilty in these situations it would be a sign of moral bankruptcy or sociopathic behavior.
No surprise that moral bankruptcy and sociopathic behavior are on the rise in a culture that encourages people to do whatever they want to do and celebrates moral relativism and situational ethics at every turn.
It is also interesting to note that more and more people describe themselves as feeling stuck in our culture. When we are not in touch with appropriate guilt, we do not receive the corrective direction we need to set life back on the right track. Without this corrective direction we remain stuck.
Sadly, when we remove something that has a very specific purpose from our lives it is usually replaced by a destructive imitation of that good and purposeful thing. In the case of guilt, we have replaced it with shame.
Shame is a useless emotion, because it feeds off itself and relishes itself. One thing above all else will prevent you from getting unstuck: shame. Beware shame. Enduring shame is like falling in love with being stuck.
Stuck is often the result of shame when what we should be processing is a little bit of healthy course-correcting guilt.
It is good to feel guilt when we do something wrong, because that guilt is simply trying to get us back on the life-giving right path. Guilt is good for us. Not endlessly or all the time, but guilt serves a purpose in our journey and it is a mistake to try and avoid it at all costs… because those costs ultimately lead to loss of self.
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