Letting Go of Guilt

Posted on March 21, 2015 by Robert Ringer


Longtime readers know that I have often referred to the current decadent state of Western civilization as the Age of Envy. On reflection, however, I believe it would be more appropriate to refer to it as the Age of Guilt and Envy, because guilt and envy go hand in hand; i.e., one person’s envy leads to another person’s feelings of guilt, and both are unhealthy states of mind.

You can’t do much about those whose minds are poisoned by envy, because in today’s crumbling Western world there are simply too many malevolent souls working fulltime at whipping the uninformed masses into a state of unbridled envy. We live in a hands-up, don’t-shoot society where morally deficient people, for their own personal gain, will tell any lie, anywhere, anytime if it advances their personal agenda.

In this regard, beware of the Absolute Moralist, the number-one nemesis of all people of goodwill. The lifetime mission of the Absolute Moralist is to badger you into doing the “right thing” — as defined by him, of course. Like Satan, the Absolute Moralist disguises himself in a variety of human forms. At different times, he may make his appearance as a politician, an environmentalist, or even your next-door neighbor.

But whatever his disguise may be, the one thing you can always count on is that the Absolute Moralist is absolutely relentless. He is the self‑appointed guardian of the law. He’s the guy who shakes his fist and honks his horn at you for a full block because you inadvertently moved into his lane without what he considered to be proper clearance. He truly believes it is his moral duty to make certain you understand that you’ve committed a heinous crime.

The Absolute Moralist will stalk you to your grave if you allow him to do so. If he senses you’re a ripe target — that you do not base your actions on rational self‑choice — he will punish you unmercifully, making guilt your bedfellow until he convinces you that you are a morally inferior human being.

In essence, the Absolute Moralist feels it is his duty to decide what is right and wrong for you. If he supports one or more causes, he will employ such nefarious tactics as putdowns, dismissiveness, and ridicule in an effort to shame you into believing that it’s your moral duty to support those same causes.

Because he sees it as his moral mission to help you “see the light,” he is able to justify just about any action he deems necessary to convert you to his beliefs. In the most extreme cases, he may even feel morally obliged to kill you in order to save you from your misguided lack of belief.

Absolute Moralists are by nature self-righteous people who are obsessively focused on claiming the high moral ground in an effort to assuage their monstrous egos. Part and parcel to this mental disorder is that they are also master guilt inducers. Be wary of the individual who states his virtuous case in such a way as to make you feel guilty for not being up to his moral standards.

Also, don’t be so quick to accept criticism or blame, and, whether or not such criticism or blame is justified, don’t waste time feeling guilty about it. If you engage in behavior that you later decide was wrong by your code of ethics, guilt is not the solution. A better idea is to offer an appropriate apology, in a straightforward manner, one time — then forget about it. On the other hand, if you’re not guilty, skip the apology and go straight to forgetting about it.

Like every other human being, you are prone to making mistakes. Even if you sometimes make a really big mistake, feeling guilty about it will do absolutely nothing to rectify the situation. By all means, strive to learn from such a mistake, then let go of it and pledge to be vigilant about not repeating it.

Overcoming the fear of being condemned for refusing to do what others want you to do requires a great deal of self-discipline. Never accept a responsibility just because someone thinks you should. Heed the wisdom contained in the No Theory, which states: Learn to say no politely and pleasantly, but immediately and firmly.

Morality is a very personal matter, and, as such, you should not allow others to decide your moral standards for you. Best to make the foundational decisions regarding your own moral standards, then refuse to allow another person’s opinion on the subject to evoke feelings of guilt. Because that’s just what it will be — someone else’s opinion.

Plain and simple, guilt is a state of mind you need not endure. And the first step toward this end is to take it upon yourself to decide, within the confines of a generally accepted code of conduct, what is right and wrong for you. Once you’ve thought that through, there is no reason to feel guilty for acting in a manner considered improper by someone else’s standards.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget that it cuts both ways, so always be vigilant about not trying to induce guilt feelings in others. When it comes to guilt, nothing positive is ever accomplished.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.