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My Own Prosecutor - Self-development
My Own Prosecutor - Self-development

Video: My Own Prosecutor - Self-development

Video: My Own Prosecutor - Self-development
Video: The Dark Side of Self Improvement | Suzanne Eder | TEDxWilmington 2023, March

Early morning, dark, cold. There is a girl on the roof of a skyscraper. She stands on the very edge, and it seems that one gust of wind can easily throw her down. And the girl's head is swarming with sad thoughts that she is to blame for everything and that it is impossible to return home …

Terrible load

Yesterday the girl went to her friend's birthday party. It was fun, time flew by. When she first glanced at her watch, it was already 23.30. And she promised her mother on oath that she would be home at exactly 23.00. She wanted to call, but then changed her mind. Mom will start swearing or, even worse, speaking in a mocking tone: "Well, where is this most punctual daughter in the world ?!" Towards midnight, my mother's calls went. It was scary not to answer, but it was even worse to pick up the phone.

Friends suggested "not to steam" and poured for courage. Fear receded, it was replaced by a clear understanding that in such a state it was impossible to go home. Then they staged an impromptu disco on the street. They ran away from the police (it is impossible even to imagine how the parents would react when they learned that she was detained). Then she kissed two boys at once. It seemed to be a joke, but the sensations were still sharp, my mother's instructions were spinning in my head: "Take care of your honor from a young age, don't kiss anyone, don't hug!"

We parted in the morning, the girl was left all alone. With a huge sense of guilt, which led her to the roof. She imagined a conversation with her parents: mom will cry, dad will be angry and may even hit. They will probably be severely punished - they will be locked up at home for several weeks, they will not buy a tablet, they will come up with something worse … She tried to come up with some excuses for her offense and could not. She broke all the rules, did not fulfill her promise - in general, a traitor and a bastard. You are the one to blame…

How do you think this story will end? The decision to commit suicide (not only in adolescents, but also in adults) is often made under the influence of strong feelings of guilt. A person assumes all responsibility for his “spoiled” and other people's life; at the same time, he sincerely believes that nothing can be fixed. Perhaps everything will be all right, the girl will return home. Yes, mom will cry and dad will scream. Yes, she will not be allowed to communicate with her friends for a whole month. In the evenings, she will secretly cry, curse herself for a stupid act, and her parents for their "adherence to principles." But a month or two will pass, and everything will work out … But will it be forgotten?

Shame is a certain sadness that arises in a person when he sees that his actions are despised by others

Benedict Spinoza

Poisoning yourself and others

Feelings of guilt are like poison that accumulates in the body. First, a person commits "wrong" actions, then he realizes that he is living a "wrong" life. A toxic feeling can rob him of a sense of fullness, happiness, contentment and fulfillment.

"Self-curse" poisons life not only for the person himself, it seeps into relationships with other people. To use the terms of transactional analysis, a person with a chronic sense of guilt takes the position "this is all bad with me" ("I'm not OK"), but everything is fine with others ("you are OK"). This position opens up a wide scope for manipulation. Many seek to feel sorry for the “guilty person”, to help him. But it often happens that all attempts to prove to a person that he is not guilty of anything end in failure.

The "self-damned" unconsciously will do everything to thwart the noble impulses of others to help him. This failure, on the one hand, will help him to assert his position (“I told you that I will not succeed!”), And on the other hand, it will allow shifting some of the responsibility onto those who tried to help him (“We tried, but nothing came of it. We must have done something wrong "). This is how the “toxin of guilt” spreads to others.

Sigmund Freud defined guilt as "conscience anxiety." We feel it when we realize our own moral wrongness. Interestingly, "conscience anxiety" arises as a response to actions that we could only commit, that is, it connects with negative fantasies. This feeling is very easy to instill in yourself. And then it is firmly rooted in our psyche as a "self-confirming hypothesis": it seems to us that something bad is happening because of us - we begin to closely look for confirmation of this - we find "evidence" (selectively ignoring the opposite) - our confidence that we “Guilty” becomes stronger - we are looking for confirmation even more diligently. And this "self-criticism" continues indefinitely!

You are the one to blame


Of the 1,324 women and 55 men surveyed by Stylist magazine, 92% agreed with the statement that men are less prone to feelings of guilt than women. Dr. Cynthia McVeigh, Head of the Department of Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University, commented on the result: “Men tend to blame mistakes on the environment and external factors. “I failed the exam because it was stuffy, I couldn't concentrate.” Women see one reason in everything - themselves. '' I failed the exam because I didn't learn enough or I was just dumb.”

Broken regulator

The sense of guilt is paradoxical. It would seem that guilt should be a positive emotion for at least two reasons. First, it is associated with a high level of intelligence (primarily social and emotional). To feel guilty, you need to know the moral and ethical standards ("I must do"), be able to analyze their behavior ("I do"), and have the courage to recognize the discrepancy between "should" and "did".

Second, guilt (like conscience and remorse) is a pre-emptive moral regulator of our behavior. Psychologist clients often associate guilt with a heavy stone on their shoulders. Few people like to carry this burden, so we are able to calculate in advance the ethical meaning of our actions.

But there is one fundamental point. Anxiety is irrational worry. In the case of guilt, it manifests itself as the fear of breaking something or the fear that we have already broken something. But what exactly are we afraid to violate? Unlike conscience, guilt is always associated with a distorted perception of moral, ethical and social norms. And the sources of these distortions are in the wrong upbringing.

Self-defense techniques

1. Inner Critic, goodbye

As a rule, it is quite easy for the Inner Critic to visualize or hear his reproaching, accusing, judgmental voice. This is a collective image, but in some cases it can be easily identified. For example, in his role, we can find "Strict Mom when I was 13".

What to do? In short, understand, accept, forgive, thank and let go. To understand what kind of "good" rules and regulations he was trying to get from us. Accept these norms and rules, rationally rethinking their suitability for your current life. Forgive the Critic if his requirements seem too harsh to you (after all, he tried to instill these norms with the best intentions). To thank the Critic "for the science and care" at least mentally.

If someone close is found in the role of such a Critic, express gratitude in person (sometimes this simple technique cures long-term grave guilt). To let go - to realize your freedom and responsibility in choosing “good” norms and rules of life.

There is no great evil other than guilt

Mark Tullius Cicero

2. Get better

Any guilt can be atoned for, even if a person has committed an act that violates the rules of morality. The image of a repentant sinner is the most important in all world religions. Any of us can become such a “righteous man”.

If we have been wrong in the past, this does not mean that we cannot change for the better in the future. The feeling of guilt (before loved ones, before society, before humanity) can become a powerful impetus to self-development and spiritual growth. Recall that guilt arises as a reaction to the difference between the ideal "how I should act" and the real "how I act."

But there is no insurmountable gap between "must" and "do"! It is enough to transform passive suffering into active actions. Moral and moral virtues can be entered into your diary as ordinary "things for today"; then get used to following them; then just live in accordance with the "due", without experiencing painful internal discord.

Where there was no intent, there is no guilt

Titus Livy

3. Love your reflection

Guilt is like a distorting mirror, thanks to which we see in our behavior only that we “do not correspond” to high ideals. Self-flagellation is closely related to perfectionism and maximalism - we severely condemn and punish ourselves for moral imperfection.

You need to learn to accept and appreciate yourself for the ability to “be good in small things”. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and say: "I like myself …" List as many of your positive traits as possible. If they are over, say: "I accept in myself …" - and list the negative features. Watch your reaction in the mirror (this is the most interesting!).

If, when naming a "negative" quality, you do not notice a clear response from the body, perhaps it is not so bad? The exercise can also be done in writing; it is best to keep a diary and record your even insignificant "good" and "right" actions every day. This will help shift your focus from the negative to the positive. This concentration on the positive sides of your self will help you become stronger; not to engage in self-criticism, but to find new opportunities for doing good deeds.

And the last thing. There are things in the world that are much stronger than what we "should have done right, but did not." For example, love (and associated forgiveness, repentance, acceptance). Love, like the sea, will dissolve any guilt.

No extremes


“You shouldn't overly psychologize the feeling of guilt, otherwise you can get completely confused. If you look at it in a purely "mechanical" context, then guilt is simply a redirection of an external impulse into the body itself. In other words, guilt is the containment of something that should not be directed outward at the moment, explains Boris Novobozhkin, a family psychologist. - For a child to stop peeing and pooping, at a certain age, parents begin to shame him for it.

If people instantly dumped any of their internal stress outside, human society simply could not exist. And a man would not even come up with a stone ax, because then he would immediately run after the mammoth, wanting to kill and eat it as quickly as possible. So sit back and do your ax despite feeling hungry. Otherwise, not only will you not get meat, but you will also feel guilty before your fellow tribesmen who have entrusted you with such a responsible task. In this sense, the feeling of guilt is one of the main engines of human progress. No pause - no man. And the feeling of guilt is the universal mechanism that forms this pause."

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