Guilt is Good

Daag Achhe Hain !!

Would you clean something that is already clean? Cleansing requires detection of uncleanness isn’t it?

We have an inherent diagnostic instrument called “The Conscience” which detects our wrongdoings. And, just like any reliable other diagnostic/fault-finding device, this God-given device is highly sensitive and specific a. However, it is our choice/freewill whether or not to be guided by it. So, if we choose not to heed to it, and since we cannot tamper it, we end up using an instrument which gives us the readings as desired by us.

Only when we are able to identify that we have gone wrong somewhere, we will be able to take a step in the direction of its remedy/correction.

Most often when we have done wrong either towards God or towards somebody else we are instantly made aware of this fact. Our conscience always convicts us about our own folly, unmasks our darker side, makes us feel guilty, wretched, and progressively compels us to repent and apologise.

Haven’t we felt lighter after we have admitted our mistake, apologised to someone who we have been yearning to do so? Probably we weren’t able to accept the fact that we may have done anything wrong initially but later when we realise, we seek to correct things which have gone wrong.

Sometimes when the fault lies with either side, the one who is able to recognise the fault first and comes forth to apologise may appear to have been defeated from outside but is the real winner from deep within. It takes courage to admit the mistake and apologise. It is the real strength and character that defines us.

There are instances when the guilt is so overwhelming that we end up in harming ourselves. There is this danger of being overpowered by a strong sense of guilt. However, there is always, always a way out through repentance. We must never lose hope.

Repentance unblocks the hindrance within us and provides the restitution we were longing for.

It is up to us, as to how much we seek to be guided by our conscience. Initially, it is always difficult because the guidance is contrary to our learnt/popular belief. Just like a master seeks an obedient student, our conscience too seeks assurance of belief. And, with every single step of ours, the guidance keeps getting more and more magnified, increasingly clearer. It appears as if we are tuning this diagnostic instrument and making it more and more sensitive and specific. But in reality, it is the other way around. It is our conscience which is refining us gradually.

Feeling guilty about what we have done wrong is just the beginning, with time we progress from feeling guilty about doing wrong to someone to feeling guilty for not being able to do good for someone.

Now here is a complete change. How wonderfully our conscience transforms us from negativity to positivity, not allowing us to rest at neutrality. Neutrality is a state of being oblivious and unconcerned. However, there is always a danger of being sucked into negativity again. Therefore, filling ourselves with positivity and love is the only sure way to continuously give us the provision to be better each day, each moment.

Therefore, it is necessary to be able to feel guilty to be in line with our pursuit of happiness.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Good guilt arises as a byproduct of our internal knowledge of right from wrong. When we think or act in a way that doesn’t align with our values, those pesky feelings of guilt pop up like a flashing warning light, reminding us that we’re doing something that we know we should probably not be doing. – Good Guilt and Bad Guilt: How To Recognize It and What to Do About It: http://mariashriver.com/blog/2016/02/good-bad-guilt-how-to-recognize-what-to-do-henry-cloud/
  2. Healthy guilt is the feeling that occurs when you have actually done something wrong – such as deliberately harming someone. This is an important feeling, which results from having developed a conscience – a loving adult self who is concerned with your highest good and the highest good of all. – Healthy Guilt, Unhealthy Guilt – Inner Bonding: www.innerbonding.com/show-article/1364/healthy-guilt-unhealthy-guilt.html
  3. Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is, “I am bad.” Guilt is, “I did something bad.” – The Difference Between Shame and Guilt, and Why It Matters:  http://lifehacker.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-shame-and-guilt-1653163759
  1. It’s appropriate to feel guilty when you’ve done something wrong. Feeling the emotion of guilt for an action deserving of remorse is normal; to not feel guilty, in these cases, may be a sign of psychopathy. – The Definitive Guide to Guilt. Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/…/the-definitive-guide-guilt
  1. If you do something wrong that hurts someone else, you feel guilty. Guilt is a valuable emotion, because it helps to maintain your ties to the people in your community. … Because guilt is painful, people often find ways to soothe their feelings by making up for their actions in some way. – What Does Guilt Do? Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201205/what-does-guilt-do

a. In medical diagnosis, test sensitivity is the ability of a test to correctly identify those with the disease (true positive rate), whereas test specificity is the ability of the test to correctly identify those without the disease (true negative rate).

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