The Daily Stoic for May 11th. “Guilt Is Worse Than Jail”.
“The greatest portion of peace of mind is doing nothing wrong. Those who lack self-control live disoriented and disturbed lives.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 105.7
There’s a powerful truth in today’s stoic excerpt. Feeling guilty about something you have done is one of the worse burdens we can carry over our shoulders.
We are all humans. We are imperfect, and weak sometimes, and we all make mistakes. One moment of weakness, however, can cost you years of remorse and shame. That’s years of hating you for what you did.
Guilt Is Worse Than Jail
It’s usually easy to say “just don’t do it” from the distance. Nonetheless, when you are being carried away by angst, anger, lust or hate, it’s not difficult to do something you are going to regret later. We are all vulnerable to that.
I would like to say I am a perfect human being, and I have never done anything wrong. But that would be a lie.
Most of those things, I have confessed. Like the child that confesses a lie to her parents, or a criminal surrendering to justice.
Some others, I’ll take them with me to my grave.
Why? Family, friends… Sometimes, I don’t think I can look to that person in the eyes and say what I need to say. It would only hurt them. Other times, I have distanced from those people enough that it won’t make sense irrupting again in their lives just to do a childish confession. Yes, I acknowledge I am probably a coward here.
What I do know for sure is that if you want peace of mind, it’s important to be able to stop before getting there. When you feel that rush of hate, or lust, or anger. When you feel like hurting someone. Stop right away and consider how much time you want to spend feeling guilty about that.
Trust me, it’s not worth it.
If only I had learned this lesson before… Nevertheless, I want to believe that we are never too old to learn and change for the better.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Guilt is worse than jail”, teaches us a very important lesson. Before acting blindly, we should consider the consequences of our actions. A moment of weakness, of being carried away by angst, hate, lust or anger, can mean hurting someone you love and spending years in remorse.