Disgust: Appropriate or Inappropriate?

What’s the difference between 'appropriate' and 'inappropriate' disgust to you? How do you see these in your own life?


Disgust is the emotion that says, “This is not good for me.” It also tells us when something is rotten or unfair. One benefit of appropriate disgust is that it can promote health and help us avoid unhealthy things. Beyond physical disgust, there is moral disgust which can lead to moral outrage. When we share moral outrage, there can be ethical change. For example, moral disgust can lead to advocacy for human rights.

Inappropriate disgust, on the other hand, can be quite destructive and lead to shame-driven behaviours. The emotion of pride can exaggerate disgust and become inappropriate. For example, we can judge another’s physical and moral choices through pride and shame them. Even further, research has shown that exaggerated inappropriate disgust can become the root of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

How have you experienced inappropriate disgust directed toward you?

How have you been inappropriately disgusted with yourself?

It takes courage to accept responsibility for inappropriate disgust—especially towards others as we have judged them. Where could you take responsibility?

What have you learned today and how could you apply it to your life?



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