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26 Jan 2011

On Guilt vs. Responsibility

Posted by groupofchange

Dear Friends on the Road,

Today I would like to talk about two concepts. One is a strong and a very powerful emotion, the other can be considered as a personality trait, a characteristic or a personal inclination. Actually it is hard to say which is which, as Responsibility is such an encompassing concept. Here I will not go into detail in terms of describing them, but I want to explain the difference, as this difference has enormous consequences in our common everyday lives.

Our lives are filled with events, circumstances, relationships, and many more… Although we believe that those events happen to us; a person travelling on the road of personal development naturally knows that those events are attracted by us, by our personal states. And, seemingly, we feel certain emotions because of those events that occur around us (!).

One of those feelings is “Guilt”. We might feel guilty after breaking a glass (physically or relationally), after an argument, or a certain unwanted behavior. We might feel also feel guilty because of a positive attraction, a feeling, or even a thought. In short, we might have this feeling at any time.

Sometimes we take action after feeling guilt. For example, we might help the poor because we might feel guilty about our lucky faith. We might not choose to buy something because we might believe that there are others who can’t…. We might feel guilty over a wonderful love affair… We might feel guilty over feeling so happy. As you can see, guilt can be a problematic and a frequently experienced emotion.

And responsibility… What are those actions that we take because of responsibility? Would they mean the same as those with Guilt? My answer is actually No.

How do you tell the difference?

When you do something with Responsibility, you do it out of love. Your love for the person, for the deed, for the work… Coming from the root “Response”, it includes the other, therefore it implies a process. You would not feel impatient about seeing the end-result, but you would love the exchange. For example, if you help someone out of feeling responsible, you would help this person for what he or she truly needs or longs for. You would not give this person your old books when in fact he/she needs a shelter or food, or, vice versa.

Guilt makes you do those things that help you get out of that feeling immediately, meaning that it is very self-oriented; whereas responsibility leads you to doing things that really satisfy or support the other. This type of action leads to oneness which is one of our important goals in this world.

With love and awareness…


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One Response to “On Guilt vs. Responsibility”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Duysal A┼čkun, PhD., The Group of Change. The Group of Change said: There is a great difference between doing something with guilt vs. responsibility. [...]


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