Why is guilt an emotion humans have to grapple with? It seems to unfair to me when I think about all the energy I must expend in a day trying to talk myself out of the self flagellation that is my inner guilt-track.
Are women more prone to it than men? Or, are men just better at dismissing the guilt and thinking about other things?
Guilt can be everywhere, too! I feel guilty about eating too much, or forgetting to email someone, or sleeping in to late in the morning, or not going to the gym, or not being completely honest with someone or not writing a blog post everyday!
I like to imagine what life would be like if, somehow, the process the brain goes through in order to create guilt were disabled. We’d all be super-humans; We’d all be super-villians, too.
If I had no guilt (and I’d like to clarify, here: guilt is different from remorse. I’m using “guilt” to describe the lesser-evils than, say, the feeling a healthy individual would feel if they decided to kill someone.) I would do all the things I normally do in my day, but I wouldn’t spend a second thought on how I could have accomplished the 24 hours “better.” I mean, guilt is just comparing what I do with an image of what I think I could have done or should have done and then beating myself up over it. Would I feel lighter, the burden of guilt being lifted from my conscious?
What if we could all see guilt? What if it was a thing that popped up on our faces, clear as day, and was therefore transparent? Like, if I walked in late to work because I decided to buy an ice cream cone before coming in and I feel guilty that A) I’m late. B) I ate something I think I shouldn’t of. C) I then lie and say that the train was shitty, so as to illicit the sympathies of my boss. But, rather than the guilt going unnoticed to the outside world, it would turn my whole body purple. Then, my boss would understand that I am probably not feeling really good about a couple choices I’ve made in the last 20 minutes. Maybe I’d get a hug because they have turned purple as well over a couple choices they’ve made.
I hate guilt. I hate the “gremlin” inside my head that tells me that I’m This or That because of a few choices I’ve made. I think, honestly, it’s one of the reasons many people don’t reach their full potential. And, hell, if we all turned purple and then gave ourselves hugs with maybe a whispered: “It’s all OK, you’re not a bad person.” in the ear as the embrace happened, we’d all be a lot happier.
Fuck off, Guilt.
February 2, 2013 at 8:24 pm by Natalie Allen