06 June 2009

Justified or Unjustified?

So Friday I had to work. I was in a great mood, having just come from watching the Thunderbirds rehearse for the weekend airshow. During the course of my shift, I noticed that I was noticing a few attractive women, more so than usual. There are a couple of explanations I've come up with for this...

1) There were more cute women than usual coming into the restaurant that night.
2) I had sub-consciously given myself permission to actually look at cute women coming into the restaurant.
3) I was actually looking for attractive women, and therefore seeing them.
4) A combination of all of the above.
5) Another explanation that I haven't considered.

Unfortunately, noticing my thoughts and feelings about the above mentioned situation also triggered my guilt and shame. I personally didn't really want to be feeling ashamed or guilty for noticing these women and being aware of my feelings, however superficial they might have been.

I talked to a friend about it and she seemed to think that it was actually progress for me. She told me that it was normal for me, and good for me to be in that space, of actually paying attention to my emotions.

What I know about guilt and shame is this: the emotion of shame is generally felt in regard to characteristics about yourself, while the emotion of guilt fires about your actions or behaviors. Shame is justified when you will be rejected from a group you care about if characteristics of yourself or your behavior are made public. Guilt is justified when your own behavior violates your own values or moral code.

So my question is this: are guilt and shame justified or unjustified in this situation?

I haven't been able to determine an answer, so I'm asking for your opinions. What do you think?

8 comments:

HappyOrganist said...

well according to your thoughts on justified/unjustified, it depends on if you've violated your own values or moral code. Have you done that?

A.J. said...

Men notice attractive women all the time and feel no guilt or shame. Your guilt and shame are due to negative conditioning. It's o.k. to look just not to act on attractions or to lust. SO if your thinking wow what a beautiful woman nothing to feel bad about if your thinking wow I'd like to have sex with that person then guilt and shame might be justified. Sorry didn't mean to lecture.

Wyatt said...

Absolutely not! You should never allow yourself to ruminate in feelings of guilt or shame for anything that has to do with your sexuality. You are intrinsically connected to the ability and mechanism you possess to give and receive love.

I believe it's SO unhealthy to continue to avoid relationships with those you feel connected and attracted to; it's counter-happiness.

Live your life, embrace your sexuality. Give love! Receive love!

Guilt and shame will do you no good, but love and compassion will. Seek out those feelings and you'll notice yourself feeling happier and happier everyday.

HappyOrganist said...

"You should never allow yourself to ruminate in feelings of guilt or shame for anything that has to do with your sexuality." Are you serious?
If I feel attracted to my neighbor down the street and act on that attraction I should feel no guilt or shame? Wow, here I go, then.
catch ya'll later.
;-P
(meant in good fun, btw)

alex dumas said...

Amy, I have noticed that when I feel that way (I call it Rachel mode), I've given myself permission to look. And I don't know about you, but for me, looking leads to thinking a lot more about it, and thinking leads to action. Pretty soon I've done something regrettable. (Like accepted a date from a married female, just out of *curiosity*.)

So I'll just say that if that is the path you want to follow (pursuing a relationship with another female), no need to feel guilty. But if you've decided to follow the gospel, let the guilt work to turn you around. That's what it's there for.

Jenz said...

In reality -- it's just looking --- your a little tormented and confused -- NOT BLIND! Just because you look at someone doesn't mean you want to have sex with them. Geesh.

HappyOrganist said...

I agree with Jen - but only 'cause I like her (and our names are the same).

hiddeninthelight said...

Scott (Dichotomy) and I talked about this once. I was beating myself up because I was having a hard time not checking out guys. I thought this was allowing myself to begin to live the "lifestyle", something I didn't want to do. He told me that it is ok to look at other guys. It is what I'm attracted, and there is nothing wrong with admiring a good looking guy. When it turns to more than admiring is when problems can begin. I don't think there is any right or wrong answer as much as there are individual answers. You probably know where to draw the line; maybe looking won't do much, but looking a lot can lead to thinking about doing things you don't want to do. It all depends on personal values and how certain actions will effect you. I no longer feel guilty about checking guys out (it would be expected of me to check girls out the same way I check guys out if I was into girls), but allow myself to enjoy what I find attractive. Sometimes it goes further than that, but when that happens, I try to take control and do better.

So, long story short, I don't think you need to feel guilty or ashamed. You aren't doing anything wrong by checking out attractive girls - anymore so than straight people checking out people of the opposite sex.

Whew, sorry that was long. I usually keep my comments short!