Dear Complete and Total Loser,
Two years ago, when I was 13, my mother was looking at the picture the hospital took of me the day I was born. She was smiling and talking about how cute I was. I was in a bad mood and after my parents went to bed I took the picture and tore it into little pieces which I threw in the trashcan outside. Later that night I felt bad and went to get the pieces but they were mixed in with kitty liter so I didn't. My mother hasn't mentioned the picture since then but I feel guilty about doing it and I'm not sure why I did it. There's no negative of it so the picture is lost forever. What can I do?
Dear Billy,Good emotions are fleeting and when recalled you recall only that they were nice emotions at the time. Joy, elation, satisfaction. Bad emotions like guilt, embarrassment and rejection live with you forever and when you recall them, you feel them again. This is an evolutionary tic humans have. You want to experience the good emotions again but you can't merely by remembering them, so you strive to do positive things to attain again the circumstances that led to them. You want to avoid the bad emotions, and feeling them again with full force motivates you to choose different paths than those you picked before. You will feel guilty about what you did to your baby picture for the rest of your life. It may even be the last memory you have as you lay dying in old age. All you can do is try to not commit bad acts again and fill your life with enough joy and good feelings that the guilt you feel will be seen in context. I wish you well in this.
The Complete and Total Loser