Posts tagged guilt
Posts tagged guilt
You might do stupid stuff here. Or you might do awesome stuff, or boring stuff, or wise stuff, or helpful stuff, or damaging stuff, or whatever. You could do illegal things, if you tried hard enough - you could also save a life.
Being here is like being anywhere: it might mean you’re not doing some other thing, I guess, but there’s not much worse than that.
Separate the forum from the behavior, please. Just like saying “she was at the mall” tells you nothing about whether the person was doing something worthwhile while they were there, saying “he was on Tumblr” tells you nothing about whether what was happening was worthwhile or not. You might be wasting time on Tumblr, or you might doing something very important. And by the way, that decision is up to you every minute you spend here.
[Please note this actually applies to pretty much every central portal on the internet, and obviously to the internet itself as a whole. Being online is like being on earth: by itself it actually tells people very little about your activities.]
We feel guilt when others have reason to think poorly of us. We are guilty when we harm others, we feel guilty when we recognize that harm. Guilt encourages us to obey the golden rule and act compassionately. Guilt is the emotion that reflects a decrease in our social standing, while shame reflects a decrease in stature.
- Feeling badly about your actions.
- Failure to meet another’s standard of behavior.
- Transgressing a moral imperative.
- Having empathy but not acting from empathy.
- Dissatisfaction from our assessment of a decrease in social acceptance or contribution.
- Failing to act on compassion; failing to prevent harm to an unfortunate person.
- Not meeting your responsibility to others.
Self-compassion is one of the hardest parts of mental wellness for many of us, but one of the most important, too. Especially if it’s hard.
But there’s still plenty of hope for me, despite all of that.
Every single day I can make choices that affect my course and speed, as it were. Yes, I’m in more rocky, hazardous territory than I want to be, but I have yet to run aground. Yes, the skies are threatening, but my ship has not yet sunk. And it’s not like I know where I would be if those things I regret, had gone differently.
You’re in the same situation. How do we know that? Because you’re still here.
A friend of mine was in an inpatient ward, suffering very, very badly from serious symptoms of her illness. It had been years since she had been in a situation that she felt was really great. It had been a while since ECT had robbed her of her memories from the better part of a decade and her ability to work full-time. Life, by most objective standards, sucked.
But she chose to participate in her treatment anyway. She chose to try another new medication scheme anyway. She chose to tell fellow patients on the ward all about NAMI and peer support groups and how helpful they are. And when she was released, she went back to being an advocate and a peer support person and all of that, because her ship wasn’t sunk yet, and there were still choices to be made.
That’s the hope, and the promise. No matter how badly you’ve screwed things up, no matter how many opportunities you think you’ve lost (or, yes, truly and irrevocably have lost,) there are still choices and options open to you. There are still people willing to help you, things to try, places to go. There is always hope, at least until the moment you die.
At that point, well, let’s just say I’ll leave my opinion out of it for the sake of my diverse audience. :)
I don’t know what the results of my choices will be. I don’t know what course my illness will take. But I know that I still have some choices. They might be big opportunities or small opportunities - choosing to try to make and eat something for lunch, choosing to take a shower, choosing to put my CPAP mask on, choosing to fill my med boxes and set them up where I can find them, choosing to share my story on Tumblr, choosing to go to a peer support meeting, choosing to call a warmline when I’m feeling like I’m in a bad place, choosing to call 911 if I feel like I’m a danger to myself or others, choosing to read a few paragraphs in a book about forgiving myself.
And yeah, I still really, truly, 100% regret the stuff I said I regret. It hurts. I 100% wish I hadn’t made the choices I did, that things hadn’t gone down the way they did. If I had a time machine, I suspect I’d go back in time before I even clearly thought about the ramifications, I regret it all so much.
But I know there’s hope anyway, and that takes the sting out of those regrets in a MAJOR way.
When we take it upon ourselves to pass self-judgment and simply declare, “I am not worthy,” we build a barrier to progress and erect blockades that prevent our moving forward. We are not being fair when we judge ourselves. A second and third opinion will always be helpful and proper.
It occurs to me that there are probably hundreds or even thousands who do not understand what worthiness is. Worthiness is a process, and perfection is an eternal trek. We can be worthy to enjoy certain privileges without being perfect.
Perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that personal measurement or judgment oftentimes may be severe and inaccurate. We may get bogged down as we try to understand and define worthiness. All of us are particularly aware of our shortcomings and weaknesses. Therefore, it is easy for us to feel that we are unworthy of blessings we desire and that we are not as worthy to hold an office or calling as someone next door.
When we dwell on our own weaknesses, it is easy to dwell on the feelings that we are unworthy. Somehow we need to bridge the gap between continually striving to improve and yet not feeling defeated when our actions aren’t perfect all the time. We need to remove unworthy from our vocabulary and replace it with hope and work. This we can do if we turn to quieter, deeper, surer guidelines—the words of our prophets and leaders, past and present.
So, I just (a minute ago) found out that a person (older adult/authority figure) who made my life really awful from the ages of 16 to 19 and kept me from doing something I loved to do for the decade after that, has passed away. And not only am I not feeling sad for her or her family, I am not letting myself feel guilty for that.
Now, the only reason I can do that is because I dislike her so much that I would have to force myself to feel bad about not feeling bad about her death and my non-sympathy towards it. But it’s nice to have one shield still standing right now.
youmeadhd said: much luck on the math skills for the grad. school test prep! will you be requesting accommodations for your testing?
This is a really tough one for me.