I like to say that I don’t feel guilty about things.
For example, I don’t bother replying to Christmas cards. Every year, I receive boxes of cards. I never send a single one. And I never feel a single pang of guilt.
Yet even though I don’t feel guilt, I’m not a sociopath. I try to help people, and I feel terrible if I let someone down.
Here’s how I draw the distinction:
There’s a big difference between guilt and commitment.
Commitment means doing what you promise you’ll do. I’m very committed. If I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it. And if I can’t do it, I’ll feel terrible.
Guilt means letting someone else make promises for you. I don’t believe in guilt because I don’t believe that I have any moral obligation to keep commitments that I didn’t make.
Remember those darn Christmas cards? I didn’t ask to receive them. So I reject society’s illogical belief that I need to reciprocate. That doesn’t make me a bad person, just an independent one.