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Are You Doing It Out of ‘Guilt’ or Love?

Let's look at how people behave differently when motivated by 'Guilt', rather than Love.

(It’s not actually Guilt, but Shame. The person simply unconsciously mistakes the Shame as Guilt.)

GUILT MOTIVATED: Unsustainable. Involves a person talking a lot about what he 'wants' to do, or is 'going to' do, rather than simply doing it. Does it for a while but quickly tires out and grows cold/inactive.

Person talks a good game about what he 'should be' doing better or differently, but is lethargic when it actually comes to doing it. Also characterized by brief spurts of enthusiasm and action, immediately followed by long periods of inaction and discouragement.

Telling others what he 'should be' doing better or differently, or what he 'wants' to do better or differently is a way to get instant gratification, or instant perceived reward, from the positive reaction or positive praise from his listeners.

(Other people's admiration of him, which is what he is really hungry for - a sense of self worth. The only way he can experience it is through his belief that other people are thinking positively of him.)

Once he has this instant reward, there is no need for follow through, or in ongoing follow through, in the form of action, because he has already received his reward.

If upon telling others what he 'wants' to do, or of what he 'should be' doing, the listeners do not react or respond in a way that gives him the impression that they are sufficiently impressed, he will lose much of his interest in continuing to entertain the idea of doing that thing.

(His listeners didn’t validate for him that the thing sufficiently matters, or that it is sufficiently important. Meaning, he unconsciously begins to think that the effort required to actually do the thing that he thought was important will not bring him enough value in the form of what other people will think of him. In other words, the primary reason he ever began to think the thing was something he 'should do' or 'wanted' to do in the first place was because of how he unconsciously believed it would cause others to think positively of him, and thereby allow him to feel a sense of earned value. He did not view the thing as being important to do primarily on its own merits.)

Afterwards, the person feels uninspired, disillusioned, lethargic, depressed, rather than joyful and fulfilled.

LOVE MOTIVATED: Indefinitely self-sustainable. Does not require much energy to get started. Is authentically enjoyable to the person. Person views doing the thing itself as having value on its own merits. The reward is in the self-satisfaction of carrying it out, not in what one imagines others might think or not think. The person talks very little of his intentions to do it, or of his desire to do it beforehand, he simply does it.

Most talk about it comes afterwards, not before (the recounting of benefits and joy experienced after having already performed actions, rather than the expressing of future intentions). Afterwards, the person feels joyful, energized, fulfilled and inspired to do more, rather than feeling exhausted and lethargic.

To have weekly, and daily conversations like this, consider joining our thriving, educational online community on Locals. Links for it are available right here on this website ( You can also get there by going to in your web browser, or by downloading the Locals app from the App Store and searching for The Last Symptom by Brian Barnett within. I do livestreams there exclusively on Mondays.

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