Living Without Living

Decent Essays

“I thought this every hour of every day for a very long time: I want my mother. My mother is dead.” (Strayed). Cheryl Strayed was flooded with an overwhelming amount of grief when she lost her mother to cancer. In her mind she was too young to die, which left Cheryl angry at her mother for dying. She lived under the guidance of her mother all of her life, and suddenly it was gone. Many people find themselves crying in bed for days or months, leaning on their family and friends, or exercises more in order to find some outlet for their grief. However, Cheryl found the best coping mechanism to be repeatedly committing adultery on her faithful husband Pete and becoming addicted to heroin. Throughout her book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Strayed expresses remorse, but she does not write as though she is ashamed of her infidelity or drug addiction. The lack of shame towards her errors is a weakness and reveals a serious flaw in Cheryl's character.
In order to accurately understand why the lack of shame is a character flaw and not a strength we need to briefly look at the difference between shame and remorse. Shame causes an individual to feel not only sorrow for their action, but also humilation. The embarrassment helps prevent a person from repeating their mistakes. On the other hand, when someone experiences remorse they feel regret but they do not feel embarrassed by their actions. Since their pride is not affected with humiliation, the person is

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