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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Part The Fourth

On, to contrition.
This is yet another simple concept that becomes more and more complex as one looks within one’s self. It is the act of reparation, of making it better.
The operative word in that sentence is ‘act’, because contrition is a kinetic rather than a static element, it requires one to make movement towards fixing the damage, the feelings, the emotion.
This is not to be underestimated, either in difficulty, or importance to the whole process.
For this step in the process, means one must examine, and change the behaviour that led to the wrong being committed. This is the step wherein self-examination must be without shadow, and judgement, being that it comes from within, but be sure.
A few years ago, there was a movement among those in the psychiatric fields, to establish and develop the ‘inner child’. This undeveloped part of our psyches was lauded at one point, as the last untouched remnant of our unpolluted innocence.
I regarded this then, and still do now, as unadulterated self-serving crap; as a field of thought ploughed deep by those who preyed on the unwary naivety of the general public. Be that as it may, this ‘inner child’ concept gave license to people to utterly disregard the process of contrition, because it would be denying the childishness of the initial act, and therefore denying the child within. More damaged people are working their personalities into ethical knots these days because of that psychological fad, than perhaps is healthy for the rest of us.
One of the fundamental problems with getting practitioners of this behavioural pattern to stop is that it’s so damned easy to keep doing it.
It works to great effect on most people, and to those, on whom it has no sway, there is practised disdain, for who in this enlightened age would deny a child, even if that child is within an adult of forty or so.
Children avoid contrition at all costs, because it reinforces their wrongdoing, and makes them think on the consequences of their actions.
It is the tactile admission of guilt to the very person wronged, and that is anathema to those who cannot see themselves weakened.
It is unfortunate that their perception does not include the vision of self-enhancement through honesty.
It is amazing the lengths one will go, to defend the indefensible, when that is also what one has staked one’s ‘right or wrong’ on. The effort expended in justifying that which was wrong to those who don’t care, is far and away more than would have been spent on a simple apology, or the assumption of a contrite nature.
The solution in this case, is far simpler than the avoidance of it, and prolonged delays in starting this process bespeaks the mindset of the one doing the dodging.
But again this is a remnant of childhood, when the possible rejection and disdain of a parent was to be avoided at any cost.
It’s a spectre from unresolved youth that haunts so many people these days, those that cannot find the strength in the role of ‘adult’, that they need to perform it. It also speaks volumes about those who were entrusted with the job of teaching them.
For it is sad but true that we are nothing more than the sum of our parts, and those who raised us, were a very large part, for a very long time.
However, that is in no way justification for allowing our baser side to affect others. It only means we, individually, must wage daily warfare internally, to counter the learned responses from our childhood.
Confess, repent, and be contrite to those you wrong, and this world will seem less daunting.
Yours will be the knowledge, that someone’s doing it right.
Sometimes, that’s all that can keep you, that faith you’re doing the best one can.
A bit of a digression for a moment.
One of the most unpleasant of human traits is that of childishness. Mind you, this term covers a myriad of behavioural aspects, from surliness through self-deception, but the root is common to all, that being the refusal to end the time of life when someone else was ultimately responsible.
We all have within us the tendency to look for another to blame, it’s a facet of our makeup that must be trained into submission.

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