Originally Posted by Plato
I'd particularly like to know how to remove any feelings of guilt for doing what *I* want. It all stems from a deeprooted feeling of unworthiness I think. How can I get rid of that? Will it naturally fade over time by polarising more strongly?
It will happen as you polarise more strongly. Or you'll polarise more strongly as it happens. The two are kind of interchangeable, in an upwards-spiral sort of way. An Academic road to improvement
To help expunge the social conditioning insisting that only in self-sacrifice can you get to paradise, consider reading Ayn Rand. I personally find her non-fiction better than her fiction, but others disagree. The non-fiction explains and the fiction demonstrates her basic point: the self-sacrifice model makes no sense! Why
are everybody elses' needs more important than mine? Why am I the only person in the entire universe
whose desires don't count? Given a resounding lack of sensible answers to these questions, Rand suggests a system whereby everybody takes care of themselves instead.
You can also try reading Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. It's another fiction demonstration of Rand's point -- seen most clearly in the 6th book, Faith of the Fallen
. (There's enough explanation in there that you can pick it up at the 6th book and follow the story without difficulty.) It shows some of the truly atrocious things that can happen when people insist that self-sacrifice is the only way, and the incredibly good that can happen when people decide to take their lives into their own hands and make themselves powerful. A more earthy road
Alternately, regress to 6 years old and play the "Why" game. When someone tries to make you feel terrible for doing what you wanted (whether it's you or someone else saying "you shouldn't have done that") respond with "Why?"
The conversation may go something like:
'You shouldn't have done that' and respond "Why?" and the answer is, "Because it hurt your friend, and now she's not your friend anymore"
In this case, it was something that really wasn't
in your self interest, so you should avoid it in the future.
But in many cases, the conversation will go something like:
'Because it's wrong to do things for yourself' "Why?"
'Because only through self-sacrifice can you achieve enlightenment' "Why?"
'Um... Because that's the way the world works' "Why?"
'Because if everyone only looked out for themselves, the world would be a terrible place' "Why?"
At some point, the nasty (whether it's another person or just your inner nagger) will run out of answers. Once you realise that the self-sacrifice model is an arbitrary set of rules imposed by a society that doesn't really have a reason for it, you'll feel more comfortable ignoring it.