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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Guilt and 9/11

November 2001


A comment that people have made to me since 9/11 is how guilty they feel that their lives are so unaffected by the terrorists acts, when in New York and Washington, there has been such dramatic impact. The reality is that bad things happen to all of us at different times. It is probably a good thing that bad things don’t happen to all of us at the same time. Think about how much this country has been able to reach out and help others. If we were all suffering from the same catastrophe, we would not be able to give the way we have. And remember, when something bad does happen to us, there will be others who will be able to help us. Don’t feel guilty, a perfectly senseless emotion, feel thankful that you were able to help.


Another comment that I have heard is “What can I do? It is such a big problem and I am such a small person.” We all have the responsibility of making our corner of the world better. If each of us focuses on this, we will make the world better. Don’t forget what happened in the election last year. One person can and does make a difference. Even if all you do is make a difference in one person’s life, that is still a very powerful impact.


So be thankful and sad and happy and worried. All of these emotions are acceptable, plus a whole host more. Just don’t waste any energy on feeling guilty. That won’t help you or anyone else.


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