Rule 26:Embrace Your Guilt

Rule 26:Embrace Your Guilt
I don’t believe in guilt: I believe in living on impulse s long as you never intentionally hurt another person. And Don’t judge people in your life. I think you should live completely free.”
Angeline Jolie Pitt
Mrs. Pitt is an idiot.
Yes she is hot, in a creepy Tomb Raider sort of way, but still an idiot.
There has developed in our culture ever since the baby boomers starting having babies a driving force to validate our actions. Things like premarital sex, drug use, divorce, pornography  and adultery were are considered bad things that brought a sense of guilt when we did them. Now since so much of our collective experience include these things we have as a society decided not only to try to decriminalize them, but the remove any guilt about these actions from our lives.
Its been a quick process of developing a “I’m OK , you’re OK” view to the world, trying to remove the sense of guilt from the mistakes or misjudgements we make in our lives. We say to ourselves that over 50 percent of our marriages fail, so why should we be beating ourselves up when we stray from our marriages and fail.  The feeling of failure sucks, so why not just agree that we didn’t fail and move on… Life’s too short to be beating ourselves up all the time for common mistakes. Forget about it , move on.
A thought to which I call …”bullshit” on
When we are born we learn the things that are healthy and unhealthy for our existence in three ways. First we learn quickly that if we put a fork into an electric socket we get shocked, so we don’t do it again – we learn from our first hand experience.
Second we learn from our parents, they tell us not to put the fork in the electric socket and we listen without having to experience the shock ourselves. Often we listen because we are being yelled at or ( God forbid I say it) spanked. but we listen.
Yes my father and mother spanked me when I was little and I am likely emotional traumatized from it , but I did not stick many forks in electric  sockets because of it. I also likely survived the 60’s and 70’s because of it. I wasn’t never beaten in  an NFL player’s child sort of way, but if I was doing something dangerous or incredibility stupid I did get a whack on the bottom and told not to do it again. And surprisingly I didn’t do it again.
I like most other baby boomers stopped the spanks with my kids for all but the most dangerous activities , like running out in traffic or playing with the stove. I’m not sure if the decline in physical punishments is an entirely good thing, but as a whole I think the reduction was necessary, but its elimination may not have been.  Even so I think my kids fear my anger and disappointment- and I think that fear is a good thing. Its an important part of parenting.
The third way we learn is from people we interact with- the society as a whole. We learn from our churches, television, music, books and now the internet. We learn from our schoolyard friends, co-workers and facebook likes what is acceptable and what isn’t.
We use to learn that adultery was bad because we heard the message consistently delivered to us in all ways. Now the messages are jumbled, we have musics proclaiming it and sites like Ashley Madison  ( Bobbi I just heard about it from the news…really) selling it- its becoming “normal” and “accepted”.
This same process of normalizing all the things we use to feel guilt about is what I believe risks us to becoming a society running around with forks looking for electric sockets to stick them into.
I am a flawed man. A man that makes mistakes constantly, missing the stop signs in life and making error in everything, everyday. Much of what I do wrong I feel guilt for, and that guilt helps me to stop doing unhealthy things again.
The path we are on to eliminate guilt is not the right one. Just telling ourselves that things like adultery and drug use are things we should not feel guilt about is not going to make these activities healthier. It just lets us accept the lie.
Whenever I punished or inflicted guilt on my kids, I had in mind that I needed to show them the pathway away from the guilt. I needed to give them a way out of hell.
The expression I love is “ to err is human to recover divine“.
Everyone of us, if we are living full life, will make thousands and thousands of mistakes for which we should feel some degree of guilt. And this is a good thing…
When you divorce your spouse, you can recover by faithfully paying your child support, and being completely present in you kids lives. It won’t make the guilt go away, but the guilt will help guide you to be a better person, a healthier person.
Trust me I know a lot about this one.
If you hurt someone by being unkind or cruel, embrace the guilt you should be feeling and do something to correct the situation. Don’t eliminate the guilt- you use the guilt to guide your actions to move positive things. Your guilt can make the world a better place.
Mrs. Pitt’s view of the world sounds like it would be wonderful… you love me , I love you and we both adopt 20 kids. But in reality the world needs this guilt to keep us from hurting others and hurting ourselves. It may not be as intellectually enlightened as her view, but it works.
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