Last update: 29 March, 2017
Nobody has the right to judge how we feel, because everyone has happened to be sad or have no more tears to shed, to feel happy or have tears in their eyes. We've all tried to lead a normal life, pretending nothing happened, even though our hearts were broken in two ... And there's nothing wrong with that.. Yet, sometimes it happens that we have the perception that we are feeling something other than what we should be feeling. It is at that point that the sense of guilt appears.
It is as if there were situations in which certain emotions are so "typical" that it seems obligatory to try them. For example, in the collective perception a birth is always related to joy. A new life is a reason to smile. The end of a wait that lasted nine months. However, those who have attended many births know that the moments after birth are not always teeming with happiness for the mother.
The same happens in the case of a death or a funeral. In the Western collective perception, the death of a loved one is always associated with sadness. But as logical as it is to shed tears and see serious faces and expressions of pain for that loss, this is not the case in all cultures. So perhaps this way of reacting to a loss is not as natural as we think or as we have been taught.
And for this very reason, no one has the right to judge us for how we feel.
Emotions and defense mechanisms
Specialists who look after the family members of people who unfortunately have suddenly passed away (in an accident, a natural disaster, an attack, etc.) state that very often they are faced with people in a state of shock. The emotional impact was so strong that the only defense of their emotional circuit was to block any emotion.
Usually these people would like to cry and release all the emotions imprisoned within them, but they cannot unlock that defense mechanism triggered within themselves.
Surely you have happened to hit your knee against the edge of a piece of furniture a few times. Think of that moment that passes between the moment the impact occurs and the moment you feel the pain. It is a moment when you mentally prepare yourself for that pain to manifest. Well, in dramatic situations like that of a sudden loss, a similar thing happens: the blow occurs, but the pain doesn't come. There remains only a feeling of emptiness, a nothing that generates guilt and fear at the same time.
Another case in which pain does not arrive - or arrives in a dissociated way - when someone is lost is attributable to a second defense mechanism: denial. Denying that loss automatically eliminates the awareness of grief. Very often these people burst into tears because they broke a glass or because they are five minutes late, but they can't do it when they think about their grief: they have moved the source of the pain.
As we told you before, using the example of childbirth, it is not just sadness that can be absent at a time when everyone expects it to be there. It also happens with positive emotions, such as joy. Think of that dream that you have realized after so much effort and effort: when you reached your goal, you probably felt very happy, but it may also be that you felt a kind of emptiness, sadness inside you.
Desire, in fact, conceals within itself a paradox on which much of the philosophical pessimism of the twentieth century is based: when it is satisfied, it decays or dies.
Let's take the case of a person in love and correspondence. We imagine her with her eyes sparkling and overflowing with joy ... But an equally common case to that of the happy lover is the stressed lover. She is, in fact, in that phase of idealization of the other in which she feels that he can satisfy his partner only by always giving the best of himself.
Sometimes this causes a state of tension that breaks down the joy and replaces it with a sense of continuous uncertainty that is very difficult to bear. Where will it be? What is he doing? Will he still love me?
Nobody has the right to judge the emotions of others
This dissonance between the emotions we expect and those we really feel wouldn't be so important were it not that, for many people, they are a source of profound sense of guilt. Those who cannot shed tears over the death of a person she loved can feel very guilty, as can a mother who does not feel joy after giving birth to her child.
Another equally delicate problem, and which often adds to the sense of guilt, is the feeling of not being "human". You may come to think that you are not sad because you are a psychopath. Some people believe they are inhumane and emotionless, and this can have serious consequences.
Moreover, very often the judgment of the people around us does not help. Near the newborn there will always be a gang of "second mothers" who consider themselves to be formidable dispensers of advice on how to raise and educate a child. Their support, if well managed, can be helpful for the mother, but when their presence is excessive, it turns into a boulder that sinks her self-esteem.
People can also comment and criticize our lack of sadness. For example, when someone loses a loved one, perhaps after a long period of illness, they may be told "You said you loved him so much and after two days you are already going out with friends" or "You certainly didn't love him so much. if the next day you were already at work ". These phrases are deeply unfair and denote an intolerable lack of sensitivity on the part of someone who has forgotten that he has no right to judge how we feel.
In any case, our emotional world is very sensitive and changes according to the personal characteristics of each of us. For this reason, no one can judge us for how we feel. And we don't even have to do it ourselves.
You must think that what we feel does not make us better or worse people, indeed very often our actions are not at all faithful to our emotions.. Precisely for this reason, the sense of guilt that we often attach to ourselves, or attach to others, has no reason to exist.