Are you shocked by your own selfishness? Feeling guilty about leaving food on the plate when children are starving, not finishing that book you bought or turning down the ex-convict asking for donations.
Here’s the conflict. The first kind of guilt is relatively easy to discern and easy to solve – when someone is asking more than you can give, you turn them down. But I wonder if we have the tools to solve the second kind, the more difficult kind.
Consider this scenario:
David grew up in a family with both parents that loved him dearly. When he got married, his wife moved in.
And as most family goes, there were little fights along the way. But nothing too big that couldn’t be solved with small compromises and a good night’s sleep.
In a series of events, a fight broke out between David’s wife and his mum. His wife loves experimenting in the kitchen and David’s mum is particular on how cooking should be done. In a rage, David’s wife packed up a suitcase and left the house. She couldn’t compromise anymore. She wants her own freedom and cannot stand to live another day with David’s mum.
David needs to make a choice, to stay with his mum or leave with his wife. He was conflicted and felt horrible about this.
In this scenario, it’s normal to feel guilty because we have bought the story that we are indebted to our parent, to our spouse, and the people who helped us along the way.
Perhaps the non-obvious choice is this. Occupy Yourself – just like Occupy Wall Street – is about taking back the power from banks, Occupy Yourself is about taking back your own power. Because no one should have the power to guilt you into anything.
Guilt is perhaps just a sign that your priorities are in conflict. A sign to sit down and think deeply about your values. A sign for you to take responsibility.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself. No one can help you, not even this article.