Misplaced Guilt

Misplaced Guilt March 30, 2016

I’m not sure if guilt is quite the right word. Kind of a mix of guilt, shame, embarrassment? Whatever it is, I’m super prone to it. I feel it particularly about my past. I’m embarrassed and guilty about things I did as a kid. Sometimes just normal kid things. Every temper tantrum I ever had I am ashamed of. I feel bad for every moment of greed or selfishness.

And I don’t just feel it for myself. I feel it on behalf of other people. I remember when my dad told me a story from his childhood. He begged his dad to take him on a carnival ride that he was too young for. His dad relented and my dad hated it so much that they had to pull the emergency switch and get off. As he told me this story, I felt a kind of humiliation wash over me. I felt upset about this child’s mistake. When you beg for something as a kid and you really want it and then it turns out you were wrong and you don’t like it at all. Any time I see or hear that happening it rattles me deeply and I don’t know why.

This is just part of children learning. It happens. It’s okay.

I know that when people have children they are often, perhaps subconsciously, trying to redeem something in themselves. It is my hope that I can have patience and grace when these situations arise with Garrick. And I also hope that working through them with him will help me get over my feelings of embarrassment about myself as a child. I hope that it helps me to forgive myself.

https://unsplash.com/photos/B32qg6Ua34Y pic by Liane Metzler
https://unsplash.com/photos/B32qg6Ua34Y pic by Liane Metzler

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  • HARRY

    You were a child and you didn’t know any different and you didn’t understand the world the way you do now. To punish your self for it is senseless. There’s no point in dwelling over the past. It’s gone and it’s history, just focus on the future and not on the past and you will do well. Happy days.

  • skyblue

    Forgive yourself, absolutely, and also I think “pay it forward” is a great way to deal with forgiveness for those sorts of things we do in our childhoods, we can just be understanding when we see others having those moments in their childhoods, and forgive them. I have more than a few of those memories too, and some really make me feel awful when I remember them. I once went back a few years later to my old middle school to apologize to a teacher whose class I thought I’d been really obnoxious in. He laughed and said “It comes with the territory”, which is as good an analysis of kid cringe-moments as any, and we had a good conversation about what I’d been up to since. Forgiving yourself can be sometimes harder than forgiving others, for sure, but it’s important!

  • mahendra hegde

    It’s very well known fact among Hindus, according to a particular shaashtra, karma does not apply for children’s behavior from 0 to 12-14 years. In fact, there is upanishadic story of a rishi who used to poke butterflies with needle for fun as a child and got mistakenly punished by devas in his adulthood. Then the devas are reminded that children action has no karma, regret their actions and apologize to the rishi. In childhood phase, god [not the English meaning of “god” but in] advaithic term “god”, wants to experience the naughty side of his nature and thus the childhood is born. Only certain grave actions have retribution karma in childhood like brahma hatya [ murder], rape etc. Else most of the actions do not have karma in childhood and having retribution feeling of it in adulthood is itself violence on self [leads to bad karma].

    • HARRY

      The rishi you are talking about is Markandiya, the author and the writer of the puran in the question.

      • HARRY

        BTW the age limit is up to ten not 12-14 because according to the puran you enter in Kishor avastha when you are 12-14 year’s of age.

  • Amar

    every teenager, or child goes through this. No need to feel guilt. this is why minor and adult are defined.