Moral Hypocrisy

It pays to be wary of those who are the quickest and loudest in condemning the moral failings of others – the chances are that moral preachers are as guilty themselves, but take a far lighter view of their own transgressions. In one study, researchers found that people rated the exact same selfish behaviour (giving themselves the quicker and easier of two experimental tasks on offer) as being far less fair when perpetuated by others. Similarly, there is a long-studied phenomenon known as actor-observer asymmetry, which in part describes our tendency to attribute other people’s bad deeds, such as our partner’s infidelities, to their character, while attributing the same deeds performed by ourselves to the situation at hand. These self-serving double standards could even explain the common feeling that incivility is on the increase – recent research shows that we view the same acts of rudeness far more harshly when they are committed by strangers than by our friends or ourselves.

Christian Jarrett writing in The British Psychological Society’s Research Digest

Digital Hoarding

I have a confession: there are 20,577 unread emails in my inbox, 31,803 photos on my phone and 18 browser tabs currently open on my laptop. Digital clutter has invaded my life and I have no idea what to do with it.

Emerging research on digital hoarding – a reluctance to get rid of the digital clutter we accumulate through our work and personal lives – suggests that it can make us feel just as stressed and overwhelmed as physical clutter. Not to mention the cybersecurity problems it can cause for individuals and businesses and the way it makes finding that one email you need sometimes seem impossible.

Instead of berating ourselves for having too many unread emails or taking too many selfies, perhaps we’d be better off setting aside time to regain control of our digital clutter – one virtual photo album at a time.

Kelly Oakes writing for the BBC 

5 internal contributions to anger

1-Self-esteem

People who try to be self-sufficient are easily frustrated and angered when they see evidence of their dependence on others. They get angry at themselves for needing others and they get angry at other people for “keeping” them in this weakness.

2-Desire for Power in Relationships

Some people feel threatened by the need to give up power in love relationships. For instance, a batterer may use anger to intimidate others in a quest for power. It’s a way to caution the abused person against using their own power. To avoid rousing their anger, spouses end up tiptoeing around the other to avoid confrontation because the price is too high to pay.

3-Desire to be Perfect

Unrealistic standards must be met for the person to feel worthwhile and accepted.

Whenever there is a perceived loss of perfection, the person becomes depressed (angry with themselves) for small failures. The student who gets a B-plus instead of an A, etc. These people also set up high standards for others to achieve and are quickly judgmental. They are hurt by others who do not join them in the quest for perfection. Even though they may be chronic confessors, but growth comes slow because they don’t want to accept their limitations.

4-Guilt

Unresolved guilt can lead to irritability. People have trouble admitting their faults.

5-Rejection

Rejection leaves people feeling hurt and worthless. When significant others disdain our contributions or act as if we are inferior and unimportant we bolster self-esteem by rejecting others ourselves, using the weapons of anger and hostility.  Since it does not heal the relationship or self-esteem, it is a temporary fix. 

Dealing with False Guilt

Here are 4 options when dealing with false guilt.

1. Remove the Source of Guilt (the conscience)
This may only desensitize us to actual wrongs and could lead to a denial of real evil in our lives.

2. Emphasize Self-Potential
This fails to address the underlying problems and ignores any real wrongs.

3. Emphasize Punishment
This can lead to feeling guilt when caught, ignoring legitimate conviction.

4. Emphasize Forgiveness
If the guilt is false, there lacks a basis for forgiveness and the person may feel they haven’t suffered enough.

Shame cuts you down to size

Shame is universal, but the messages and expectations that drive shame are organized by gender. These feminine and masculine norms are the foundation of shame triggers, and here's why: If women want to play by the rules, they need to be sweet, thin, and pretty, stay quiet, be perfect moms and wives, and not own their power. One move outside of these expectations and BAM! The shame web closes in. Men, on the other hand, need to stop feeling, start earning, put everything in their place, and climb their way to the top or die trying. Push open the lid of your box to grab a breath of air, or slide that curtain back a bit to see what's going on, and BAM! Shame cuts you down to size.

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Seizing the Initiative

Everything in this world conspires to put you on the defensive. At work, your superiors may want the glory for themselves and will discourage you from taking the imitative. People are constantly pushing and attacking you, keeping you in react mode. You are continually reminded of your limitations and what you cannot hope to accomplish. You are made to feel guilty for this and that. Such defensiveness on your part can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Before anything, you need to liberate yourself from this feeling. By acting boldly, before others are ready, by moving to seize the initiative, you create your own circumstances rather than simply waiting for what life brings you. Your initial push alters the situation, on your terms.

Robert Greene, 33 Strategies of War

Trusting Ourselves to Live Without Self-Made Barriers

My weekend of "sleeping" on the decision of whether to apply for a potentially exciting job evolved into a familiar frenzy of circular, useless thought and internal list-making, as well as reading everything I could get my hands on, including a book one of my journalism professors gave me, titled "Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes," which I have yet to finish for good reason.

I initially plunged into the book, knowing my super-speedy reading skills would yield another "achievement" of having yet another book to bring up at parties or feel particularly good about myself when I can tell others, "Yeah, I've read that," as if some book fairy was waiting on the last page to plant a huge gold star on my forehead for being on the fast track to personal enlightenment. There I go again. Fast as I can. Trying to get to the finish line before anyone knows I'm in the race. But something slowed me down. Something made me stop trying to rush through a book intended to help me enjoy, or at least cope, with life's gentle lulls.

Amid my mental commotion, I managed to pick up another book by Geneen Roth, "Women Food and God." That one was impossible NOT to read in about three hours - again, for good reason. It was a book I needed to read ten years ago. And it led to a few realizations:

The constant drive I feel to keep climbing whatever ladder happens to be in front of me at the moment has a lot to do with the fact that weight loss has somehow programmed to me think that PROGRESS is actually REPAIR for a person I've always been convinced is broken. I'm not skinny enough, so I "fix" myself with a rigid diet. I'm not smart enough, so I digest information at every possible opportunity to seem less inadequate. I haven't accomplished enough, so I keep seeking professional outlets for which to prove to a judgmental world that I'm aware of my shortcomings and want to overcome them.

This self-inflicted rat race has never been about personal growth; it was always about internal repair. And these moments of murky transition scream to my compulsions, saying, "Wait, there is no way that YOU could be good enough to slow down. You've never been good enough. What makes you think you are now? Keep pushing. Keep working. Keep killing yourself to prove you have value. It's the only way."

Any sort of educational, professional or personal structure I've ever maintained in my life was an excuse to keep a cage around Broken Me. I adhere to strict, torturous diets and workout plans because if I don't, Broken Me (who obviously can't be trusted) will screw up and gain weight. I maintain impossibly difficult schedules because Broken Me would waste her life away if left unattended. I've spent my life devaluing everything about myself in order to justify having my own predetermined life track. I've also convinced myself that if I don't spend a life obsessively submerged in all that I love, simply loving it has no value in itself, hence the all-too-predictable desire to jump at the opportunity to apply for the job.

And the truth is, I would love that job. I would learn from it. But, would I grow? My news judgement and management skills would likely improve. I would be able to gain a new type of experience. But, would taking on a position like that enhance my education or serve as yet another comfortable crutch for a girl who convinced herself long ago that she couldn't stand on her own two feet?

Alex McDaniel

the Mask of Guilt

The fear of repeating a wrong or a fear of repeating past failures can produce an anxiety that can be mistaken for lingering guilt. Rising to meet even the simplest of expectations can be difficult. We become angry at ourselves and guilt-ridden. The bar is so low. Why can't rise above it?  But guilt isn't the culprit. Fear wears the mask of guilt, fooling us into wearing its chains.

Stephen Goforth

driven to obligation

When we are locked into imperative thinking, we hold our absolute conviction so tightly that we have little or no recognition of our choice to say no! Obligation becomes our driving force. Relationships with other people and our responsibilities to them then become matters of dread, resentment, guilt.

Our need for a structured, orderly life can be so powerful that we refuse to make allowances for choices. To us, circumstances are either black or white. Once we settle upon a conviction or preference, we feel rigidly obligated to abide by it, with little variation.

Imperative people are almost afraid to allow for the luxury of choices. We feel the need to minimize our risks by sticking to the rules that we have made for ourselves.

Les Carter, Imperative People: Those Who Must Be in Control

Feeling Genuinely Loved

Share with your mate exactly what it is that makes you feel loved. Always keep the discussion on a positive basis without a hint of reproach for past mistakes your partner may have made. Remember, you can never enhance or rekindle the emotions of love by heaping a sense of failure on your partner. I cannot overemphasize this enough. Never in the slightest way put a feeling of guilt upon your mate.

Ed Wheat, Love-Life for Every Married Couple

A Pardon in the Pocket

A prisoner in 1830 named George Wilson was pardoned by the President. They brought Wilson the pardon, but he refused to accept it because it would mean admitting his guilt. So he walked to the hangman’s noose with the pardon in his pocket. That’s what each human is like. We have pardons in our pockets. But most people ignore their guilt, ignore the pardon, the new life, the love and power..

Harold Myra, The New You

a Sickness unto Death

Man begins as an it. He is to become an I.  The fact that he is not necessarily so is the source of man's misery. Sin leads to a disrelationship, a separation of man from himself called despair. Kiekegaard says this disrelationship of the self to the self, this despair, this spiritual sickness unto death reveals not only man's separation from himself.. but his separation from God. To be rid of the despair, one must, choose it. A man will be enabled to overcome if he recognizes the sickness, accepts it, and through an act of his own free will, makes a leap of faith past it. The cure is to choose the good, to choose one's self, Kierkegaard tells us. It is in the act of becoming one's self, man moves from an it to an I.

Stephen Goforth

setting boundaries

Many people feel that they are “people persons,” able to attract others and connect with them. At the same time, however, people persons often feel overwhelmed, anxious and frustrated about the obligations and responsibilities that their bonded relationships demand.

Setting boundaries is the primary tool for strengthening your separateness and developing an accurate sense of responsibility. The essence of boundaries is determining where you end and someone else begins, realizing your own person apart from others, and knowing your limits.

A good way to understand this is to compare our lives to a house. Houses have certain maintenance needs, such as painting, terminate control and roof repairs. If, however, we’re spending all our time putting roofs on our neighbor’s houses while neglecting our own roof or we run the risk of a leaky roof or worse by the time we get back home.

Think of all the different caring acts you performed over the last 24 hours. How many did you do grudgingly because you were under the threat of someone’s criticism or abandonment? How many did you do under compulsion because you feel guilty if you don’t keep people happy? And how many were from a cheerful heart, from the overflow caused by knowing you are loved by God and people in your life?

John Townsend

Murder confession tattoo

A Los Angeles gang member was convicted of murder because he had his crime tattooed on his chest. Seven years after the 2004 killing, the 25-year-old was arrested for another crime. That’s when a police officer noticed the scene inscribed on the man’s torso. It included a lifeless body and the outline of a liquor store. A law enforcement officer went into the man’s cell, pretending to be another member of the same gang. The confession given to the undercover cop led to the man’s conviction on first-degree murder charges.

Each of us has secrets hidden underneath carefully guarded masks. Whether or not we wear them as tattoos, their itch reminds us of how they have impacted our lives.

Stephen Goforth

Wallowing in Guilt

No one heaps guilt on himself or herself when they don't have to do so. Right? Actually, there is much to gain from wallowing in false guilt.

* You gain control over others. You are telling others to orient themselves around your need for 'restoration.'

* Removes responsibility from your shoulders. They can’t expect much from you when you are broken and bleeding, can they?

* You get attention. "Look at me! Don't pay attention to others. Focus on me! See how guilty I am?"

* Get others to pump you up. "I'm so bad." "Oh no, you're a wonderful person.."

* You do for yourself what you wish others would do to you "I wish other people would punish me because I don't feel worthy of good things happening to me."

* Youavoid resentment. It’s easier to admit guilt rather than resentment. What you’d like to do to someone else (punish them) you do to yourself.

* You may have an inadequate view of God. To hang on to your guilt, you distort the truth of forgiveness.

* You may have false guilt because of expectations. You could be trying to live up to everyone’s expectations-and, of course, you can’t. Or you might be trying to live up to a peer group’s expectation.

* You may have a fear of repeating a wrong or the fear of being tempted toward it.

* You may be following some unhealthy teaching. You may have been taught to feel bad over wrongs you’ve committed.. forever.

* Your family has been inconsistent in forgiving you and only showed you conditional love.

* You are trying to fulfill unhelpful injunctions you heard from people in childhood. Others may have tried to motivate you by guilt by getting you to focus on the negative aspects of yourself.

* You could be covering up feelings of anger with feelings of guilt.  Perhaps you are not making a distinction between guilt and disappointment.

* And finally, you may have done something wrong and are experiencing true guilt but want avoid dealing with it.

Stephen Goforth

dealing with false guilt

Here are 4 options when dealing with false guilt.

1. Remove the Source of Guilt (the conscience)
This may only desensitize us to actual wrongs and could lead to a denial of real evil in our lives.

2. Emphasize Self-Potential
This fails to address the underlying problems and ignores any real wrongs.

3. Emphasize Punishment
This can lead to feeling guilt when caught, ignoring legitimate conviction.

4. Emphasize Forgiveness
If the guilt is false, there lacks a basis for forgiveness and the person may feel they haven’t suffered enough.

Stephen Goforth