Feeling bad about oneself is a normal response in the realization of wrong acts, those that could have been done better. This reaction is common as it is inspired by western civilization and cultural background for the longest time in history. Contrary to folk beliefs, people's tendency to feel guilty promotes morality, which can as well act as an obstacle to immoral behavior. A negative state of experience is always as a result of having done something bad. I have had this feeling before, and it has played an important role in the shaping of my actions as well as condemnation of myself. I stole a friend's mobile phone not once, but twice, and I feel that the act was not freely done by me but by forces working outside me.
Sometimes seeing friends making money from selling the stuff they have stolen can motivate you to try your confidence out. Similarly, I got a wish to earn quick money just the way my friends did, and it worked out for me. Even with those, I could still feel guilty about myself and wish for desirable things that could lead to a happy life. Otherwise, I learned a couple of things about living an ethical life. After stealing, a normal person would feel guilty, which means that guilty is not a recipe for an ethical life. As much as it might feel perfectly possible to have an ethical life without feeling guilty, mistakes made can make oneself superfluous if they try to change their behavior for future occasions (Cowen & Shenton, 2017).
Also, feeling bad about oneself is not a remedy for leading an ethical life. After stealing a friend's mobile phone, it would be common not to be comfortable standing around them. This notion means that an individual might feel bad about what they have done and might continue to act immorally (Cowen & Shenton, 2017).Without a proper understanding of myself, I could have continued stealing just like most people do. Therefore, a person might feel terrible about the stealing behavior but continue to engage in it as a way of dealing with the bad character that they have already created.
Through my action, I learned that feeling bad about oneself is a selfish response. When you feel guilty about yourself, you always think that you are unworthy for life. The selfish response is a common phenomenon that I also found myself in. As much as morality relies upon the argument of others just the way beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, I found myself in a situation where I could have a self-centered feeling. Generally, guilt distracts a person from being of benefit to others (Pope &Vasquez, 2016). We find ourselves wondering how awful we are to people that surround us and end up forgetting the good things that we should be dong to people around us. These actions make us become victims of our moral faults. While people who feel bad about themselves take actions to remedy their wrongdoings, people like me are likely to fall into self-destructive behaviors.
Furthermore, feeling bad about yourself especially after doing bad things due to forces working outside you cannot make you a better person. Sometimes people think that it may be worse to do something wrong and not feel guilty about it than do the bad thing and feel guilty. These thoughts are backed by ideas of superiority as a result of feeling guilty. It is still unclear to me how guilt can have such a gross effect. Still, how bad one feels about themselves does not important as the best thing is to either repent or regret. The intentions to repair the damages done, the desire to have acted differently, and the wish that in the future no one would do what I did ring my mind. While regret focuses on something I did wrong, guilty focuses on why I am a bad person. Therefore, accepting the results of the bad things and wanting to change is useful because it motivates one not to fall into the same mistake again. Generally, guilty is impractical. To contribute to the rectification of the negative qualities, a person needs to focus on themselves. For instance, I am selfish when I realize I have done the wrong thing, but what is more painful than accepting that there is an obstacle for imagining myself differently? Well, I need to adapt my behavior to what I have formed about myself and accept the change that will follow. This act of selfishness is an act that is driven by forces working from both within and outside me.
In summary, feeling guilty is neither sufficient nor necessary for acting normal. Therefore, feeling bad about oneself may prevent someone from being morally upright and inhibit positive responses towards others. Suppose a person does something wrong, they should focus on the suffering of the victims, feel guilty about their actions, and try to repair the pain they might have caused. Living an ethical life is important and way better if it is done with joy, a clear conscience, and behaving well even in unsatisfactory times.
Cowen, M., & Shenton, R. (2017). The invention of development. In Development ethics (pp. 3-21). Routledge.Pope, K. S., & Vasquez, M. J. (2016). Ethics in psychotherapy and counseling: A practical guide. John Wiley & Sons.
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