Monday, July 25, 2011

Guilt vs. Regret

Hey Colin,

Daddy is still trying to figure out all these mixed up emotions, and come to grips with understanding who he now is and who he is becoming. There are so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions flying around in your old man's head that it is often too difficult to see through the fog and have some clarity in order to work through stuff. Today, I decided to tackle a very difficult one for me...guilt. Is it guilt that I feel or regret? In order to find out, I looked up the definitions of each word (listed below).

1: the fact of having committed a breach of conduct especially violating law and involving a penalty; broadly : guilty conduct
2a : the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously
2b : feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy : self-reproach
3: a feeling of culpability for offenses

1a: to mourn the loss or death of
1b: to miss very much
2: to be very sorry for

According to the definitions provided by Merriam-Webster, regret is the obvious winner as to what I should be feeling, but in real life guilt always seems to be the answer when asked how I feel. Did I commit a breach of conduct or consciously commit an offense? I can say the answer to those two are a resounding "No!" Do I feel culpable with a sense of inadequacy? This is where the line between guilt and regret get fuzzy for me. I know that I feel extremely inadequate in that I could not do my job as a father and protect you, but the culpable thing sticks in my brain. Since culpable and blameful are synonyms, I will shift language a little bit. I do feel blameful and thus guilty, when what I should be feeling is regret. Why? I don't know. Feelings are fickle and complicated things sometimes and they are just what they are. One day, maybe, I will figure out some of these mixed up things swirling around in this feeble brain...then again, maybe not...who really knows? The one thing I do know is that I would plead guilty every day for the rest of my life to not feel any more regret.


1 comment:

  1. Steven,

    Guilt v. regret. I dont think I could have expressed this better myself. Both feelings run so closely together during our difficult times, especially for dads. Thank you for sharing and helping me work through my feelings as well. I wish there was more I could do for you. Know that my family is always praying for your family. Take care.