Guilt: A Time Bound Emotion?

Guilt seems to be an emotion that affects a person only outside of the present moment.  That is, it seems to have a grave effect on either the past or the future or both.  Due to this anomaly The Huffington Post has reports Guilt is a Time-Bound Emotion.

 What Does that Really Mean ?

When a person expresses guilt about indulging in sweets, in anger, or in infidelity, they are directing attention to the negative effects that will occur in some future time, i.e., gain of weight, pimples,etc.  The article goes on to point out that you can also feel guilty for something you’ve already done.

One might feel guilty about the way they treated their friend, wife or neighbor.  This type of retrospective guilt is time-bound, but it is not motivated by the fear of punishment or reprisal.  Whatever has happened has already happened, and you are filled with a kind of remorse for your behavior.

Whether an individual is feeling guilty or feeling in danger of being guilty as charged,  they effectively remove themselves from the present tense and are fixated on the future or the past.

Therefore, the avoidance of the present is one of the functions of guilt.

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