Conscience and conscientiousness make one feel, ‘I haven’t done enough.’
It may be the case of a person or a given situation, when one is required to help. This feeling or response heightens, especially if the person or situation is irretrievably lost.
How much of truth or justification may be there in such a feeling or emotional response? Will the accompanying guilt be justified?
What is “enough”? How much is “enough”? “Enough” for whom? These are some of the relevant questions that spring in the mind immediately. These, and other related questions, are similar. Therefore, I take the liberty of combining them.
The required succour is, simply, what and as much as the person or situation demands. The help required could be monetary or service-based in nature.
Let us, for discussion’s sake, assume that I am the person who is required to help a needy person.
Resources, financial or otherwise, are hard to come by. They cannot and must not be squandered on an unworthy person or cause.
This gives rise to the question, “to whom”.
Do I know the person well enough for rendering assistance? Is the need genuine? What is his/her repaying capacity? Is the person so close to me that I do not want repayment?
There is a catch here. The succour may be beyond my capacity and capability although there is no doubt about my intent to help. Should I, then, “do” whatever I can even if it is insufficient, even if it does not meet the demand of the needy person or situation completely? I would unhesitatingly say, “Yes, of course.” The logic is that, at least, part of the needs are met with, providing that much of respite. Further, the needy person is assured of my solidarity with him/her even if the succour is insufficient. However, if I can render complete help, I must. In such matters, my conscience and conscientiousness must guide me.
Should the succour rendered be insufficient and the person or situation is irretrievably lost, will I be justified in feeling “guilty”, at least partially? The word “guilt” has more legal than emotional connotation. If I had rendered the succour, albeit insufficient, ungrudgingly and stood by the person or situation through hard times, then I would unhesitatingly say that the feeling of guilt would be completely unfounded; maybe a sense of sorrow at the inability to have rendered sufficient help, but guilt, no.
I think it feels great to have someone who stands by during hard times.