It’s a good way to deal with guilt and self-hatred
I ALWAYS WANTED to be a really good person. Today, I have some different ideas to add to my idea of being good. I literally wallowed in guilt and self-hatred during my drinking days. This habit has been hard to break in sobriety. In a strange way, I thought that if I paid enough homage to the gods of guilt, I would some day be forgiven, and that lashing myself with my faults was what God wanted of me, to teach me humility and somehow to let me pay for all my wrongdoings when I was drinking.
Now, I think there can be healthy guilt feelings if they are used in a healthy way. That sudden rush of dismay I feel when I do something wrong is my conscience prodding me to take a good look, to be honest, and to try to do better next time.
But when I spend a great deal of time dwelling on my faults until I am defeated and without hope, what am I really doing? I am saying to God, “You may love me, but I don’t. I will serve another god today, and when I have made myself sufficiently miserable, I will then infect all those around me. I will deny anyone else’s love for me as well, and become angry, cranky, and full of anxiety and negative thinking, so that my loved ones and friends will absorb these feelings, too.”
If we really believe that we are the children of a loving God, can’t you almost hear Him saying, “What are you doing to my child today?” Would you be so cruel to your own children as to follow them around for hours or days reciting to them every fault and wrongdoing of their lives? Would you build on their insecurity by telling them over and over that they can’t make it?
Being a good person means to me that you are good to yourself in a healthy way, distorting neither your faults nor your virtues. The “balance of nature” we read about includes a balance in natural feelings, and I don’t think serving the devils of self-hatred and guilt is serving God at all.