Esther de Waal writes about the sense of guilt that bedeviled her childhood, the sense of never being good enough, of failing again and again in trying to measure up. In the Celtic tradition there is none of that kind of self-focused guilt. Instead, she notes that in the Celtic poems and songs "I have found sorrow, deep sorrow, many tears, a real outpouring of grief, but it is never turned in on itself, never the kind of sorrow that becomes inward, self-destructive guilt, feeding on itself. Tears, as I learn them from the Celtic Christian tradition, are never what so often my own tears become: tears of rage or of self-pity, tears of frustration, tears because I have put my own self at the center of the picture and feel that I have not received the treatment that I deserve--the tears of a child, in fact, for whom 'life isn't fair.'.....But true tears are those of real, deep personal sorrow, of repentance, that lead to the determination to change."
And I would add that true tears are those evoked by beauty, by goodness, by profound truths, as well as by deep personal sorrow and repentance.