Can we do a better job at understanding the context of why people make bad decisions in their lives (without giving them an excuse for it)?

Everybody has made very bad decisions in their lives at some point. Many are just morally wrong but others are even criminal.

There are people out there who don’t really have a conscious nor feel guilt/shame for bad past decisions (sociopaths). But others fall into temptation which usually leads to small compromise which then leads to another compromise and it just gets worse and worse. In the end the person ends up being guilty of a wrongdoing they would never imagine themselves partaking in.

For me what matters if someone can flat up own up to being wrong (including myself). If they genuinely own up to being wrong then I am open minded to understanding the context of how things went wrong. That doesn’t mean their bad decision is justified. But it also it gives me more understanding to become a more forgiving individual. And being forgiving doesn’t mean what they did is okay or you even forget about it (although it’s ideal to forget about it). Forgiveness is about letting go of resentment and judgment.

This mindset can be applied to ourselves by the way. I think we tend to either self justify really bad decisions to bury guilt or self flagellate ourselves and wallow in guilt/shame. Neither are productive. Guilt/shame actually can lead to isolation and even worse decision making.

The best thing to do is own up to being wrong first and accept we made a mistake (both logically and emotionally). After owning up we then can make amends if possible. But then forgive ourselves if we can initially own up to being wrong.

Can we do a better job at understanding the context of why people make bad decisions in their lives (without giving them an excuse for it)?
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