If fear is the mind killer, guilt is the heart killer. Experiencing guilt creates a wound. The wound is healed when the behavior producing the guilt is rectified. The scar that forms over the wound serves as a reminder to guide future behavior.
Living in a state of perpetual guilt, however, prevents the wound from ever healing. The wound festers. The guilt swells until it becomes an infection of empathy. The infected person devotes all her energy to coping with the constant pain of guilt. She spends all her time hunched over the wound, seeking to alleviate the pain. Focused on the wound like this, she cannot look beyond herself. A cycle develops. The guilt grows and becomes ever more painful. The pain strangles the infected’s capacity for empathy. Eventually, the infected loses her ability to act from a genuine concern for others and only acts to avoid the pain of more guilt. [Read more…]