What is guilt, why do people feel it?

I'm talking about everyday personal guilt rather than the term used in law.
The dictionary ofers these definitions:

- Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong.
- Self-reproach for supposed inadequacy or wrongdoing.
- Guilty conduct; sin.

It seems to me that guilt is more of an action than a state. The feeling of guilt should trigger one to act in such a way as to remove the guilt. For example if one hasn't spoken to a friend in a while, and one feels guilt, then that person should go and visit their friend.

Is this the only way a guiltly feeling can be removed?

I believe that the resolution of guilt is often misused by the majority of us, and thus is not worked out but is instead is put off.

Guilt is in effect abused to make one feel better about themselves, to this end guilty people seek recognition from others about the subject matter, it becomes a completely selfish act rather than a selfless one.

Guilt does not exist as an internal state, if one feels guilty for doing something, it basically translates to that person feeling bad about doing, or not doing something that they should have done. If the guilty one shares there guilt with another, they are asking for forgiveness.

By stating "I feel guilty for ..." the person is asking the other to say "there, there, don't worry. It'll be okay" Thus the guilty one feels better about there situation. Then the guilty party can rest easier, although they have done nothing to address the problem.

I feel this is basically laziness and lack of respect for the one that can be called friend. If someone deals with all cases of guilt in this manner then they are headded for a fall, they could well lose their friends and become isolated.

It's very possible that they do not even understand why they are in that situation and attribute the problem to something outside of themselves and with the others, the friends. Thus a repeated cycle of behaviour is born that will not be broken unless they act unselfishly.


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