I couldn’t make most people feel shame or guilt about sustainability. They’re already feeling so much, I couldn’t add more.
People don’t like feeling guilt, shame, insecurity, helplessness, hopelessness, and other emotions that they often feel when sustainability and the environment come up.
The emotions arise from what I found Abraham Lincoln said best:
“Nothing is more damaging to you than to do something you believe is wrong.“
Doing something you believe is wrong will make you feel guilt, shame, and so on. People spend so much of their time denying and suppressing these emotions, they come to believe they aren’t feeling them all the time.
When someone brings up the topic, they become consciously aware of the emotions they already felt but tried to deny and suppress. They feel something like, “I didn’t feel shame before this person brought up the environment. I feel shame now. This person tried to shame me.”
They already felt that shame. In fact, since they’ve been maximally damaging themselves by doing something they believed was wrong, which polluting does by hurting others who are innocent and helpless no matter how much they rationalize and justify.
I couldn’t add to the guilt and shame people feel if I tried. They’re already so full of it, I couldn’t add to it. Lincoln saw the pattern over a century ago.
I think I’ll stop mollycoddling people who make themselves feel guilt and shame by doing what they know is wrong and then act as if someone else caused those emotions. Only if they understand how much they’re hurting themselves can they stop.
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