GUILT

Let’s face it: There are times when we feel guilty, and that is a good thing. Where does this feeling come from? Did you ever wonder why your brain has this ability to experience something that you are doing and immediately start wagging its finger at you and telling you that this is a very, very bad idea. Who programmed this brain to know? How does it know? Can I shut this part off?

Apparently, we come into this world with this innate ability to know when we have crossed the line and are doing something wrong. Great programming. Still, I wonder why we have this program automatically loaded in our brains. This is great preparation for being in a social environment. Without it, we might be committing mayhem with regularity. Think of this as a skill. How can we use this skill to help us? We know when we have offended others or shamed them, and we feel bad about doing that. Still, at times it can be just what we want to do even if we do feel bad.

This form of aggression is always available to us. As teens, we tend to use this with regularity. Boys make fun of each other in the locker room. Girls tease each other about romantic interests. We get our licks in. As adolescence wanes, and we come out of the hormonal fog, we look back with regret. I remember a friend who was a talented musician talking about the torture that he delivered to some peers in high school. He was one of the cool guys who played guitar well and attracted the girls. He enjoyed picking on the lesser guys who were nerdy or had no particular talent to set them apart. As an adult, he felt true grief about those teen interactions. I admired the next move that he made. He actually found the guys he tortured and apologized. That took courage.

That also relieved his guilt and led to healing for him and the guys he had shamed and tortured. I admire his courage and willingness to make amends. When we truly embrace ourselves and take responsibility for who we have been and what we have done, we grow into ourselves and become the people we were designed to be. Who do you owe an apology to? Make it soon.

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