6 August 2009

Catholic Guilt and Dealing With A Dilemma

So every once in a while, I stumble upon a crossroads in my life in which I am faced with a great moral dilemma. Most of the time, I would carefully and painfully consider other people's thoughts & needs above my own while meagerly attempting to put my needs at the front. And more often than not I would buckle & cave in to the needs of others. As the picture above states..."I have compromised almost every major decision in my life because of other people". I can promise you that I strive for the "this one's for ME" part. I truly do. But it's never that easy. I don't want to be "that person" who does "that thing". And the few times I truly did put myself first in the most selfish way possible, It was way more trouble then it was worth.

Then I got baptised into the Catholic Faith. And I thought I was plagued with guilt before?!?

There is nothing and I repeat NOTHING that can get my panties in a bunch more than Catholic Guilt. Catholic Guilt is something entirely different then regular old guilt, or even other religious guilt. This guilt slices at the raw nerve. And I don't know if I should use the word guilt so much as I should use the words "sin association disorder".

I have a serious case of SAD going on because of a particular issue where I have to weigh out the unreasonable wants of others with my own needs but I am in a precarious situation where my options are few and my stress is high.

Just to be clear, there is nothing in our faith that says that I have to feel guilty. However, it's a natural byproduct I suppose of trying to live a God centered life. Not a "beat your head down with religious" life. But just a simple "obey the commandments and treat others well" life. The need to be closer to God and to live a better life will often put me at odds with the desire to have " this one is for me" moments.

On the other hand, how can I truly be a better person if I am always putting myself last? The strive for balance between the wants of others and the needs of myself shouldn't mean that I always put others wants before my own needs. I'm sure that God doesn't truly want me to be digging from the trenches, fostering deep resentment of others because I "love they neighbour". I don't recall reading "love thy neighbour at the expense of yourself" written anywhere in the BIble.

Oh oh. I just had an epiphany moment while I was typing. I just realized something.....If I live a life where I either put my life first or the lives of others first, where and when and how does God fit in? I just realized that living my life at either extreme means that I'm not living the best life I can, and if I don't do that, then I'll never have "this one's for me" moments.

It's like trying to stuff a VW Beetle with people. Stuff too many and you don't have room for one more. Close the door and lock the windows, and no one can get in and you sit there all alone.

So. Am I any closer to solving my dilemma and finding a state of equilibrium? Nope.



Joanna said...

I remember being in my 10th grade high school religion class, and one guy was like, “I just lie my way through things.” And his buddy was like, “Dude, isn’t that a sin? You’re breaking the 10 Commandments!” And the first guy was all dignified in declaring, “Nope, there’s no commandment that says, ‘Thou shalt not lie’… so you can lie all you want!”

Hehehe. Okay, so we weren’t all the brightest of high school kids…. But I’m sure we meant well in our search for ways to get around that Catholic Guilt.

Then again, the road to Hell is paved with what? What…? That’s right. Good intentions. Which basically means that we’re all doomed. ;)

But hang in there. Be honest with yourself and those affected by your decisions. Sacrifice / compromise are necessary at times, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to put yourself last.

Mary said...

Just the fact that you are trying to lead a life where you are kind and good to others is a great thing sweetie.

You really are one of the nicest people I've ever met, and I've known you for nearly 20 freaking years!