• remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense
• a cognitive or emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes – whether justified or not – that he or she has violated a moral standard, and is responsible for that violation
• closely related to the concept of remorse
• responsibility for wrongdoing
Why do people feel guilt? Why do some people feel guilt more than others? Why do some people, myself included, feel guilt over stupid things that the other person has probably already forgotten about but that I stew about and think about and replay over and over in my mind?
Let me back up.
My brother and I often talk about the fact that we have two kinds of guilt. First, we have Catholic guilt, which all other Catholics can relate to and tell you non-Catholics about. Okay, we’re not exactly attend-church-every-Sunday-practicing Catholics, but still, the guilt is always there. Second, we have our own family guilt; we actually call it “(insert last name here) guilt” (sorry, I’m not quite ready to reveal my full name and identity to everyone in Blog Land). We’re hit with a double-whammy of guilt. I don’t know why, but it’s always there, even when I probably have nothing to feel guilty about.
Take last night. I was a bitch. Well, not so much a bitch, but a sullen and withdrawn person who wasn’t bubbly and friendly like she usually is (no really, I usually am). I’ve been working, getting used to a new schedule where I get up at the butt-crack of dawn (excuse the vulgar language, but that’s really what time it is), starting school again, battling with my weight, and preparing for a wedding (not my own, but one I’m in). After awhile, it starts to take a toll on you.
Last night, apparently, I was done. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I couldn’t put on a happy face, and so…I didn’t.
Later, I felt really bad about it. Now for most people, you might feel bad about, resolve to change, and be done with it. But not me. I felt bad about it, resolved to change, and then moped around thinking about it for the rest of the night. I feel better this morning, but I still have that guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why?
Here’s a little something about me. I am a pretty easygoing person. I am anal and organized, but I’m a true procrastinator. I’m a hard worker and set high standards for myself, but I’m lazy. I don’t get stressed out or anxious, but guilt and regret often sit like stones in the pit of my stomach. I’m getting very good at not caring about what other people think of me, but I often retrace my actions in my mind to analyze them for myself.
I am an oxymoron on so many levels.
The problem is that I don’t know how to stop dwelling on things. Take last night – I wasn’t flat out rude, I was just (as previously mentioned) a bit sullen and withdrawn (add to that the fact that I was PMS’ing, and you can imagine my mood). I resolved to turn my attitude around, and that should be that.
But it’s not.
I’m still thinking about it today. It’s there, in the back of my mind and the pit of my stomach, affecting my overall mood. How do I let it go? Why can’t I let it go? Why do I keep replaying it over and over in my mind?
Why do I feel this darn guilt?