On feeling guilty

I wanna talk a bit about something I discussed in therapy.

Guilt alone changes nothing. It doesn't help you, nor the people you've hurt.

What matters is empathy.

Guilt leads to self-pity.

The only thing guilt leads to, is self-pity.

Self-pity is not constructive. In fact, it is incredibly destructive, and leads to fatalism. All you do when you pity yourself is proclaim, β€œit cannot be helped; I clearly cannot change, because I am a bad person.”

This is false and leads you to repeating the same patterns over and over.

Empathy leads to change

Put yourself in the shoes of the people you hurt. Do you genuinely think they want you to punish yourself repeatedly as penance, and feel endless remorse, or do you think they want you to change and not do it again?

I'm willing to bet it's the latter.

Wallowing in guilt will only make things worse. What good does self-punishment do if you've made no commitment to avoid repeating the mistake?

You're probably not a bad person

You have much to offer others. You may do bad things, but so do we all. The mark of a good person is one who learns from their mistakes and puts in the effort to change their behaviour.

Guilt alone is neutral. Most people experience it. It isn't anything special, and as I said above, it doesn't help.

Nothing can substitute actions.

As my Latin teacher said: results, not excuses.

β€” Elizabeth Myers (Elizafox) Fedi (elsewhere): @Elizafox@social.treehouse.systems Tip jar: PayPal || CashApp || LiberaPay