21. Guilt, Shame and Conditional Morality

Guilt and shame can be powerful motivators, de-motivators and depressors in both raising kids, and governing your own life. Founded deep within our desire to assimilate with our "tribe", these emotions might drive more than we know.

As parents, guilt and shame are emotions we likely feel a lot - no matter how confident you may be in your approach, decisions or network. Turns out, we're only human... and as such we're privy to these emotions and their cascading effects on our lives and decision making. With no ONE way to do things, and often no clear immediate "correct!" response coming from our actions a lot of our decisions as parents get made, executed and repeated with long-term implications that we frequently don't have time to consider.

Although shame and guilt are often conditional, situational, dynamic and temporary in nature these emotions tie into a greater topic - conditional morality and ethics. This conditional morality comes from our own theory of mind, and how these big emotions of shame and guilt play into our own view of the world. Depending on what we're trying to do, these morals and ethics have a way of changing and being manipulated by immediate environment to enable assimilation with other people, or upholding your own priority.

But I guess that's the thing. Everything's flexible and dynamic whether you want it to be, or not. Things change - constantly - including to some degree your morals and ethics... and chances are a survival situation would highlight this best of all. Knowing that these drivers are flexible though can help you better navigate this "grey". Knowing that the guilt you feel for doing/not doing something is a natural, human feeling as a result of trying to best assimilate with your closest group. Additionally - the shame you feel for not better assimilating with a group (ex. work) at the cost of another group (ex. family), is also a human response. Having the theory of mind, self awareness and empathy to work around these will help you better maintain your ethical and moral code and find solace in all of these emotional pulls. But.... then it will all likely change!

Enjoy the podcast, and as always share comments, questions, recommendations, topic requests and all through this Patreon page at www.patreon.com/savetheparents, or by emailing me directly at jenny@save-the-parents.org. Thank you!