Don’t Feel Guilty, Feel Committed

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.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Feel Guilty, Feel Committed

  1. cptObv

    Do people even expect a response from benign xmas cards? No one does, which is why no one ever feels guilty about that.

  2. Ah, but then why do people send holiday cards to the people who send them holiday cards?

  3. This is a great distinction to make. I often feel guilty taking favors that other people have done for me without them asking if I wanted them. But the most important thing is to never break a promise. Great post.

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