Three emotions that drive people to profound misery are fear, obligation and guilt. All three of these are easy to exaggerate. These three work in combination to suffocate the life out of ordinary people, like a python with a good grip.
A healthy approach to guilt is to consider what is reasonable about an obligation. If it is an unreasonable level of obligation, it’s probable that you are really resentful. It appears to be “nicer” to silently swallow resentments, though that process does take a huge toll on the individual.
It’s the same for fear – a reasonable amount of fear helps keep us safe. An unreasonable amount strangles our choices and makes our world too small.
All three intertwine with self-destructiveness & self-loathing. Which really seems like the Devil working to erode the soul. Any addict who struggles with relapse knows exactly what I’m talking about.
Making a distinction between what’s reasonable and unreasonable is too often a rare accomplishment. Fear, obligation and guilt have to be managed like the lions tamed at the circus. The only way to manage these feelings, that are so easily larger than life, is to think them through and package them into a size that is no longer overwhelming.
Fear, obligation and guilt are nasty in their ability to make decent people feel bad about themselves. They are tricksters, not to be trusted. Accepting our own failures is part of accepting our humanity. We ALL have dark sides that are impossible to disown.
Self protection should be an ordinary consideration for everyone. Too often self-protection gets the false label of selfish. It is normal to factor yourself into the equation when something is asked of you. Choice is what makes you mentally healthy. Knee jerk complete sacrifice that erases your own energy is not being choiceful. Think things through, factor yourself in & make a choice that will lead you to a fair consideration of what enough means.
Try to look in the mirror without the distortion of these emotions. Get a reality check from a friend about what is enough. If you’ve spent decades with these three emotions yapping in your head, it is unlikely that you have a clue what enough means.