Emotions: Why feeling guilty, ashamed and even embarrassed may be constructive.
Some times when we don’t know our emotions we cannot control them. When we cannot control our emotions we may get lost in our emotions and let our emotions get the best of us. In my last post I talked about getting angry or even enraged and the upside of it. However if you are like the rest of the population there will be times we all get angry. After we get angry we may realize our actions and begin to feel ashamed, guilty and even embarrassed. What is the constructive side of these emotions?
Have you ever farted in public? Yeah! I am asking that seriously. I have, and to be honest I felt kind of embarrassed about it, have you ever farted around your girl friend, or ladies, your boyfriend (you can admit it, it’s okay). As humans we are social creatures and we would not have survived if we didn’t have such emotions. We need to keep up with societies social norms and morals. Although I am not a proponent of conforming to society as we all need to be our unique selves we some times have to just give in. After you fart by significant other or just punch someone in the face we will eventually pull ourselves to think back and feel these emotions of guilt, shame and embarrassment.
Embarrassment is usually brought upon by an action whether it be flirting or farting in public or even being in the limelight / spot light which many people cant handle. Our body then releases adrenaline in our body, which has effects on our capillaries and nervous systems. Some times this effect causes blushing. Which may further embarrassment, sometimes it can occur when we are feeling guilt which is some times a form of shame.
So now we know that some times we feel embarrassment when we get into these random situations of flirting, farting or being in the spot light but some times this emotion grows a bit bigger into shame. You punch Johnny Appleseed in the nose because you where enraged and after some time you become to rationalize your thoughts and you feel ashamed. Shame is okay. It makes us realize we did something wrong. You don’t want to hurt someone else ultimately; No human that is sane on this planet wants to hurt another person. I truly believe that. You did something stupid, use this emotion to realize that help you realize what you did so... that maybe in the future when we use our other emotions you may not have to use feel ashamed.
The discomfort of these emotions really makes us turn inward to examine what led us to these states so that we may be mindful and fix these issues our selves. An assistant professor of psychology, Ilona de Hooge says, “ People can learn from their mistakes only when they acknowledge that something went wrong”. I truly do believe what Illona says but we must take the time to be rational. Once we become rational these emotions make us make amends and help not only you but the human race as a whole move forward. That’s a pretty amazing thought! We move forward by making amends, trying to fix what we have damaged to repair it. Not only that we become more genuine and caring individuals. See… I told you the everyone cares about each other.
Let’s says we are feeling a little more then embarrassed or ashamed. After we become so obsessed with our emotions we become to feel guilty. The encyclopedia of psychology has this to say about guilt: Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.
You have compromised your own moral standards. That’s pretty deep stuff. Something happened that is so big you compromised your own moral standards. Just let that sink in a bit and think what this really means. I will say again and again we all care for each other. We do things we don’t want to do some times but we may let a compulsive behaviour get to the best of us. Knowing and feeling guilt is to solidify your morals, make you realize that you do have morals, you are a person and you do care. It is a precursor to being the best we can be.
In fact there is some studies on guilt that affect our health and criminology. Long story short those criminals that feel guilty are actually less likely to be back in jail. This may just be why we have jails to reflect, although I thing our society does jails the wrong way where we should be educating not jailing to most degrees. (Anyways… Getting side tracked let us get back on topic.) In the mean while patients who go to the doctor and feel guilty actually have improved behaviours resulting to improving their overall health.
The funny thing about these emotions is that they may not come up when we experience bad or commonly negative behaviours. They may come up as we flirt, meet our dream celebrity or even having a big group of people singing “Happy Birthday” to us. It may just be by the attention we are receiving.
These emotions may come up more prominently if we have a more compulsive personality and are ultimately there to help us control this compulsion. We often feel guilty about feeling guilty, feel embarrassed about being embarrassed or feel ashamed about feeling ashamed however we need these emotions. If we never had this emotion we can never look into another person and trust them, nor could we look into our selves and trust our selves. You can learn from your mistakes, but only when you acknowledge them.