When Pop-Psych Advice Goes Amuck . . .


Dr. Wayne W. Dyer posted this little gem of pop-psych gone amuck advice yesterday on his Facebook page, and it has tallied up over 11,100 “Likes,” 500 comments, and 3,600 plus “Shares”!

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
You can sit there forever, lamenting about how bad you’ve been, feeling guilty until you die, and not one tiny slice of that guilt will do anything to change a single thing in the past. Forgive yourself, then move on.

Like Unlike · Comment · Share · 11,191 Likes; 500 Comments; 3,610 Shares · 11 hours ago

 

And so I posted this (little gem) in response:

Garbage . . . such blithe all-or-nothing throw the baby out with bath-water advice. . . .

Pop quiz: who said/wrote the following:

“I don’t feel guilty for anything! I feel less guilty now than I’ve felt in any time in my life. About anything. And it’s not that I’ve forgotten anything, or else closed down part of my mind, or compartmentalized. I compartmentalize less now than I ever have. It’s just done! . . . Guilt . . . is this mechanism we use to control people. It’s an illusion. It’s a kind of social control mechanism—and it’s very unhealthy. It does terrible things to our bodies. It doesn’t solve anything, necessarily. It’s just a very gross technique we impose upon ourselves to control the people, groups of people. I guess I am in the enviable position of not having to deal with guilt. . . . I feel sorry for people who feel guilt. . . . But I don’t feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t feel guilty because the guilt doesn’t solve anything, really. It hurts you. You don’t need to feel badly. You don’t need to regret.”

A. Wayne Dyer
B. Paulo Coehlo
C. Neale Donald Walsch
D. Don Miguel Ruiz
E. Ted Bundy

The answer, of course, is E.

Lament and guilt are actually completely normal and appropriate responses when we have erred and done wrong and or “missed the mark.” And the correct next step after we have felt guilt or lament is to make our amends, take corrective restorative actions, and then to never do the bad or errant behavior again.

The solution isn’t to blithely “forgive ourselves” and get rid of that shred of sanity within us (our conscience) that is nagging us and reminding us that we could have done better.

And the soulution isn’t to write assinine and vague little blog posts advising people to glibly forgive themselves and move on.

Seriously, what were you thinking, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer?!?

Can you imagine a nation of people focused just on forgiving themselves (how self-centered! Where is the actual concern or compassion for the other person–the person who was wronged or hurt??) and just moving on??? You’ve forgotten the most important piece of advice!–To advise people to take corrective action and make their amends; and then NEVER do that wrong or errant thing again. And then guess what?–they’ll never have to feel guilty for doing that bad or errant thing again for the simple fact that they will have stopped doing that errant or wrong thing!

So how about instead of:

You can sit there forever, lamenting about how bad you’ve been, feeling guilty until you die, and not one tiny slice of that guilt will do anything to change a single thing in the past. Forgive yourself, then move on.

Perhaps something more psychologically sound and mature like:

You can sit there forever, lamenting about how bad you’ve been, feeling guilty until you die, and not one tiny slice of that guilt will do anything to change a single thing in the past. Forgive yourself, seek the other person’s forgiveness, take corrective restorative action and make your amends, and then move on and never do what it is you’re feeling guilty about ever again.

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4 thoughts on “When Pop-Psych Advice Goes Amuck . . .

  1. Pingback: Color A Day – January Compilation « Color Nerd

  2. I was one of the people who liked that quote, but something about it didn’t seem right. Your post articulated exactly what it was that bothered me about it. Thank you. (Also, it was refreshing to see a “mystery quote with a notoriously bad author” that wasn’t by Hitler. xD)

  3. Pingback: Guilt, Anger, Apologies: A True Warrior’s Perspective | The Places That Scare You

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