You know what you did. You know what was done to you. It was despicable. The action may have gone against your morals or you may have done it out of revenge. Maybe you felt wronged and needed to release vengeful energy. Maybe the person who wronged you was blinded by selfish reasoning and needed to see the light while they were shrouded in darkness. Human kind has all types of reasons for why we do the things that we do. Everything isn’t all black and white and humanity has no perfect being. People make mistakes and can come back from them. The only thing is, do we have remorse for our actions? Can we look at the man in the mirror, bring him to trial, and list his crimes in front of a jury? (the jury being your morals, ideologies, and general sense of right and wrong) Can the man in the mirror take responsibility for his actions and formulate a plan for redemption?
What is remorse? Remorse is a feeling of deep regret and guilt someone may feel from actions they have performed in the past. It’s a gnawing feeling that eats away at people who have done things in their past that go against their moral and belief systems. The feeling can persist for quite a while depending on the action, with some people living with the feeling for a lifetime. You do a bad thing, and maybe at first you don’t feel the gravity of your actions. You then see the repercussions of your actions and then guilt starts to erode your soul. “How could I have done such a thing?” “What is wrong with me?” “Oh god, what have I done?” You wonder to yourself what could have set off the series of events leading to this wicked thing you have done. You absolutely regret what you have done and wish you could take it back. That, is remorse. I believe people should feel remorse after doing bad things that hurt people. That shows their humanity and a doorway to forgiveness and taking responsibility.
It takes a twisted person to do evil things to people and not feel remorse. I am in no way a therapist, psychologist, or any of that. I am just a man trying to advocate positive mental health. Thus, I do not believe positive mental health lies in wronging people and not feeling any type of way after doing so. People’s lives are not the playthings of others. I can’t understand people who can do nasty, dirty things and just continue on with life as though it was just another Tuesday. To me, that showcases a need to seek help. It blatantly showcases a lack of consideration and empathy for your fellow man. It also showcases a deeper anomaly within one’s psyche. To lack remorse is to lack accountability for one’s actions. Being a heavily empathetic individual, it almost hurts to be in the presence of someone who can continue to do horrible things and not feel anything. It goes against what I would consider to be a societal norm (that is feeling bad about doing bad things)
Now, when someone is showing remorse, and I mean true remorse for their actions, they need to be able to live in that truth and also be able to redeem themselves. Humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. We do things that don’t align with positivity and happiness. Hurt people can hurt people. It’s what we do after causing the hurt that will forge the path into the future. How do I make up for what I have done? What can I do to show rehabilitation and a general intense care for never repeating the action? How can I be a better person in the future not only to those I’ve hurt, but those I will interact with in the future? Redemption is a dish best served hot. It needs to be reheated every so often so that those partaking of it can enjoy it hot and ready, not cold and without care. Remorse is not something that you show only on your terms. It’s not something that can be synthesized. It needs to be consistent, especially with actions taken in the future.
Remorse can be demonstrated in many ways, but it usually starts with an apology. An apology where you blatantly admit to wrongdoings and apologize for your actions. You take responsibility for what you have done and the pain you have caused. You take ownership of the feelings you had and don’t shift blame to the wronged party. You don’t let too much time elapse, where the interpretation of the act can get compounded and seen as worse. You own up, put on your adult pants, and make plans to set right what went wrong. You go to therapy to figure out what motivated you to do such things and ways to prevent repeat actions. You talk to those in the support industry that can help you towards positive reflection so you don’t self-condemn yourself. You ask your god or governing deity for forgiveness and plan to act on your request to be forgiven. You practice empathy in order to better understand the feelings of others so you can have perception on when you are going down the path to wronging them. You don’t blame others for your misstep, rather you blame yourself for even considering the actions in the first place. I’ve wronged my fair share of people and I ruminate on my actions to this day. Sometimes a sorry or changed action may not be enough for forgiveness, but it can make the world a better place with one less wicked person in the world. One less person to continue the spread of negativity and toxicity.
I try to continue my mental health journey to showcase my remorse for the horrific things I have done to people. Things I have said and done out of anger, low self-esteem, lack of self-love, lack of accountability, and my general lack of an understanding of my mental makeup. I attend therapy every week to keep up with my learning of myself with my therapist who can tell me with experience how he feels I am progressing in my journey. My therapist also helps me with not condemning myself to oblivion and giving up on myself after considering the gravity of my actions. It’s one thing to do wicked things. It’s a different ball game having to see the results of your actions constantly. Watching the pain I inflicted and the wounds it caused made me truly consider who I even was and what I was really doing to better myself. I was a horrible person. I am trying every day to be a better one. I am trying everyday to never go down the dark road that led to my actions. I learned that some scars never heal and things done and said can’t be taken back. So all I can do is accept who I was, and look forward to who I can become. I am eternally sorry for what I’ve done, and can only hope I can be forgiven someday for it.
Mental health is a journey and remorse is part of that journey for some people. Those truly remorseful for their actions can walk a path of redemption. It is a path that you need to want to walk down. Despite the twists and turns. Despite the accountability that needs to be taken. Despite the hatred, anger, resentment, and slew of other feelings the wronged may have towards you. You know what you did. I know what I did. We are all well aware of the actions we have taken. We also know what we need to do not just for the wronged, but for the future of our entire race. We need to look at ourselves and right what may have went wrong for us and the way we were thinking.