Conscience and Guilt

When we say, express, or do something wrong, our conscience pricks us. It is a wound that hurts.

Often, we apply “quick relief” medication to that wound:

  • “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know” (when one very well knew)
  • “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you” (when one very well knew it could hurt)
  • “I had no idea my behavior would be perceived by you in that way, I’m sorry” (when one very well knew it could be perceived that way)
  • “Yes, in my writing that article, I copied from what was written earlier by someone else. I just didn’t think my article would be read so widely.”
    (Please forgive me for the theft, I didn’t think anyone would notice).
  • “I’m sorry darling, I did not initiate it. It was she who hugged me and then kissed me, I had no choice but to succumb.”
    (I did not withdraw from the hug and stop her from any further intimacy).
  • These “quick relief” medications are a short term solution to address the guilt we feel within ourselves.

Do these “quick relief” medications work in the long term? They may ameliorate the problem in our relationships, but they’re not long-term solutions.
The guilt persists. Our conscience doesn’t give up so easily, neither does it forget soon. Our conscience is a tough bastard with an unforgettable memory, and it just feels like a chained iron ball that restricts us from wandering free.

What do we next do to cling to support in our quest to ignore our conscience? Time.
We hope that over time, our mistake, our transgressions, and our wrong behavior will be forgotten and buried over the sands of time. That iron ball chained to us will become a forgotten archeological artifact.

If, in the short-term, we successfully apply “quick relief” medication, in the long term, our conscience will no longer remember those wounds and those mistakes.
But it doesn’t work that way. Our conscience is indomitable, even time doesn’t overpower it. Our feeble attempts to vanquish our guilt by waiting it out don’t work.

The only way to defeat and overpower our conscience is to accept the guilt, accept the mistake we made, internalize what we did wrong, and learn from it.
Conscience and guilt have no time limits, they will wait forever for us to accept our mistakes. We can’t overpower them by hoping they will fade and cease to exist over time.

We spend a lot of time in our lives evading, neglecting, and suppressing our conscience.
I think if we paid more attention to it, our lives would be so much happier.

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