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A little bit of shame

Redemption is that thing we are promised that can rectify those ills or wrongs which we have inflicted on others or even ourselves. We can at times feel justified in wallowing in a regret that often is so self inflicted, that the anguish and shame is searing. Unfortunately what we tend to regret is not necessarily the self harm, but that which we have caused others. The victims of our self interest.

In an age fixated on well being and self love, the shame and disappointment that we should experience is washed away. A need to escape these feelings and important lessons are denied. These are things that we SHOULD feel. We should be ashamed at times for how we treated another or in more extreme cases, if we violently harmed another. What we are ashamed for is relative, whether it was deceit, betrayal or even the neglect that one who is in a loving arrangement should never impose.

Shame is especially important in the extreme circumstances where life is taken or injury is caused and when the scarring ever lasting. The shame should steer one down a path of caution so that they do not leave a trail of victims, those who do not deserve to be infected by our own self interest and selfish inconsistencies. Shame is the punishment we at times deserve.

Some may walk through life leaving in their wake many victims and in their joyous contentment they ignore the consequences that they have directly caused. In the march to success they could have trampled and climbed over many others, those who have helped them, aided them and loved them. But in the pursuit of their own happiness and ambitions they may have crushed and harmed others. It is at times the ability to ignore these victims and the broken feelings or worse, of others that many who succeed are able to do so.

But is it with the vices and escapism of the successful that they attempt to intoxicate their demons? The shame and regret of past deeds wash upon them, and the drugs and pleasures provide a temporary cleansing delight that intoxicates the mind for a time so that those memories and misdeeds are ignored. For a time.

Perhaps for some that is the Devil’s deal. That which they balance in their own mind, in their own way. The sociopath masters of selfish ambition become often the wealthy and accomplished. They betray and bludgeon others at times in many shades and it is because they do not have any remorse for the past that they can press far into a future of goal after goal.

In the theological promises of being born again that many attempt to live another life. Those who believe in a baptism, that they can ignore and find forgiveness for their past and live a pious existence there after tend to escape the punishment that the mind should inflict on oneself. It is in the luxury of such a belief that one can assume that so long as they embrace the religion, and take into their heart a deity that they will find forgiveness in the afterlife. When they are dead, it is done. But in the living such a belief can help them to avoid such shame and regrets. Like the intoxicating elixirs of mental medicine they will avoid a certain obligation.

We deserve to be happy, is the mantra told and sold to millions. But do some of us? Why and what exactly is happiness? What is the root cause of the darkness, the depression? What and who have we lost. Are they departed or did we destroy that love with our own poison. What steps in our journey so far did we take which caused us to regret a decision, or inflicted a misery that damaged another.

In affairs of love our conduct may have deprived another of happiness. That emotional betrayal could have been that needle too many to break the back of trust and intimacy. And even beyond the romantic, in friendship, business or other affairs it is the conduct of our self, unified in the actions of others that we may have crushed the spirits of one who was already tethering. In our selfish desires and indifference we kicked hope from another. Washing away sweetness with our sour actions leaving them forever bitter.

Self reflection should not be about grandiose promises or the self love that many inflate themselves with. But with honest contemplation, a black glass of truth. A reflection that shows us only what we really. Who we are to those who matter most, our victims. However innocent the misdeeds were, they accumulate. They pile upon the others and in time they break and harm. It is the reflection upon such actions that we should feel shame, regret and remorse.

Redemption, that is not for us. It is for them to bestow upon us, for them to grant us and even then, let that shame steel you with guarded consistency so that you do not repeat the same acts over again. But the honest truth is that you may not deserve instant happiness, gratification is an escape and can have impact that is beyond what you immediately experience. And when you have wronged another or others, and you will know inside your heart of hearts, face that anguish. Because what ever regret and shame that you may allow yourself, the damage that you may have done was far worse.

Be honest and stop seeking the lying lollies of those who tell you that you deserve happiness regardless. It is what is hidden inside of the regardless that matters. Only you can explore and know this. Sometimes the shame and regret will never leave, let it deter you from doing whatever it was again. Because sometimes you can not put the petals back onto the flower.

June 2021

Published inAll Articles and EssaysPhilosophy, Society and Liberty