Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I am afraid of the future. I'm not afraid of the past and I have no beef with the present. Because of all of that, I fear risk. Risk to me is the unknown future. If I'm comfortable with the here & now, I don't have to take risks on an uncertain outcome.

Unfortunately not everyone feels the same about the past and they let it determine how to judge both the present and the future. Don't you people ever read the prospectus on your mutual funds? Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. It's boilerplate. I think, in some situations, the past can feed our conscience and fear of the past can lead to guilt. But how far back should we allow ourselves to go? If we carry a childhood regret, I think we should likewise carry a childhood fondness. What is the statute of limitations on guilt?

[This is where I started searching for quotations from wiser persons than myself...]

"Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts." --Nikki Giovanni

This is what my therapist has been trying to tell me. There is no such thing as failure if you learn from those times in which you did not succeed. And there is just as much risk in doing nothing as attempting.

"Shame is closely related to guilt, but there is a key qualitative difference. No audience is needed for feelings of guilt, no one else need know, for the guilty person is his own judge. Not so for shame. The humiliation of shame requires disapproval or ridicule by others. If no one ever learns of a misdeed there will be no shame, but there still might be guilt. Of course, there may be both. The distinction between shame and guilt is very important, since these two emotions may tear a person in opposite directions. The wish to relieve guilt may motivate a confession, but the wish to avoid the humiliation of shame may prevent it." --Paul Ekman

"What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame. Whom do you call bad? Those who always want to induce shame." --Friedrich Nietzsche

I thought these two were interesting, not from the perspective of risk but of the human tendency (for those of us with at least a little modesty and/or humility) to see ourselves through other people's eyes. I think we get to choose whose eyes we see ourselves through.

"A man's conscience and his judgement is the same thing; and as the judgement, so also the conscience, may be erroneous." --Thomas Hobbes

What's the moral of the story? Maybe it's: Take chances, live in the present, feel no shame, and don't sweat the small stuff.


At 4:35 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

But always pet the big stuff! ;) Just stopping by wit da love fo da Tiny one.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Ev said...

you said "childhood fondness"

now bark like a dog.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Jammie J. said...

Soul searching is hard to do. When you come out the other end (snickering), it's always worth it. :)

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Beth said...

I think we get to choose whose eyes we see ourselves through.

Not necessarily. You spend enough time with someone or a group of people (like your family) and it's unavoidable to see yourself through their eyes.

At 11:50 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Beth- Nope, still a choice. It may be SO difficult that we don't even see it as an option, but I hold out hope that it's possible.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Sass said...

exactly - put yourself out there.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger kcterrilynn said...

Not to make light of your serious post, (and it just could be that it's been a long day) but when I read the first line, I thought you were saying you were afraid of furniture. And then I glanced back at the title, and well...yeah, I've been working too hard.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Brighton said...

I hear ya on this one!


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