Guilt… Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

So, our brains constantly torture us to the tune of ; I should be spending more time with my kids, cooking healthier meals, calling friends more regularly, returning emails, working harder, going to the gym more often, being nicer to people, coming home earlier from the office, baking more, eating better… Oh the Guilt! Oh the Guilt!

Actually, guilt does serve its purpose on occasion. It sometimes guides us when things go wrong in our lives, when we’re not working hard enough, or when we’ve done something wrong, for example. But us ladies truly take guilt to a whole new level. I would even go so far as to call it our disease.  We suffer from guilt about so many things. Instead of recognizing all the wonderful things we do for those around us, we let the things we CAN’T do completely overtake our mind. This is a sad thing ladies. Sad. But I will tell you, I suffer from this disease as well! And it’s chronic.

I sold my business three years ago to be home with my kids, because I was feeling so guilty leaving them all the time. Now, I feel guilty if I can’t be at all the carpool pickups for my little son. Or I feel guilty if I want to take time alone. I feel guilty if I miss a dinner with the kids due to a school meeting. I feel guilty if I go to the 7:30am kick boxing class. I feel guilty ALL THE TIME. And I don’t know why. After all, I think I’m a pretty good mom, daughter, and wife. I just can’t turn off that guilt switch.

So what is the solution? Many experts say we truly need to put ourselves and our needs first. To take that “Me time.” Haven’t we all heard “The first Love, Self love.” or “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” and “Happiness comes from within. First please yourself, and then you’ll be pleasing to others?”

Well that shit is darn easier said than done!!!

There is such a fine line between pleasing and nurturing ourselves, and being selfish. That’s at least where I and so many of you struggle. If I treat myself to an afternoon alone, am I a bad mother? If I leave the office too early, am I bad employee? If I leave my marriage without trying, did I give up too soon?The list is endless.

guilt

So, what do you do? Guilt can be very paralyzing and destructive. And the thing with guilt, is no one punishes you but yourself! Every woman deserves to be happy, and live their life to its maximum potential.

  • First, accept that you are human, and that you are always acting the best you can, at any given moment. Accept that humans fail and err, and all you can do is your best. Guilt keeps you stuck in the past, and doesn’t let you move forward. Let it go.  You’ll do better the next time.
  • This leads up to; if you made a mistake, learn your lesson and move forward. Learn to be resilient. It’s a process.
  • The “should-haves” cause tremendous guilt. Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself serves you no purpose other than to stress you out. This leads us back to learning to say no a little more, and saying it guilt free.
  • Don’t get sucked in when someone is trying to give you a guilt trip. For example, “Really don’t come if you don’t want to… Isn’t that too expensive for you?… You put your child in daycare after 3 months?… Shouldn’t you be home with your kids now?” Don’t even answer the question or you are being sucked in.
  • Remind yourself of ALL THE GOOD THINGS YOU OFFER TO THIS WORLD. Calm those negative and guilty thoughts. Seriously, the power of positive thinking is an incredible thing. You’re worth it. We’re all worth it. We all deserve a little “me time,” and deserve it guilt free.
  • And finally, stop asking yourselves, “What will the world think of me if I…” Stop caring what others think… you’ll see how much guilt dissipates once you stop caring about how the world views you. I know people who have mastered this art. They don’t give a sh*t what anyone thinks of them! And I tell you, they’re happy! Now, I’m not saying not to care or be accountable to your family and friends, but stop that need for external approval.

And stop living your lives the way OTHERS want or expect you to. And stop feeling guilty that you’re not perfect; my friends, neither are they!! Live your life according to your own values and beliefs. We are on this earth for a short time. Make is great.  Make it count.

xoxEDxox

Any of you have your own tips for calming the guilt in your brains? Share with our readers…

33 Comments
  1. Women are THE most important people in the home, community – anywhere. Consider these words from Proverbs 31…
    Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
    (Pro 31:10-31)

  2. We all feel guilty. Especially members of the tribe. It’s in our bloodlines.

    But if we don’t nurture ourselves, the resentment that piles up outweighs the guilt by tons…I think we all have that same creeping guilt, and it’s so inate that we don’t even recognize it.

    We feel guilty even thinking about putting ourselves first for a while, let alone actually doing it! But our lives don’t end when our children’s begin. We need to keep going, keep growing, learning, opening our minds and our horizons, contributing, sharing. We need to feed that too, even if not for long…and it needn’t be in extremes. Sometimes a quick 15 minute walk with your husband, or a speed mani at a corner salon…small moments that rejuvinate, recharge the batteries, can be sanity-saving…

  3. In the words of an intuitive psychologist and courageously amazing woman, Joy Ain, “Guilt is anger turned inward”. Inner anger…now that cannot be good. Since hearing those words I try to notice when guilty feelings arise, sit with them and move beyond the “I have to’s”. Doing so gives me new perspective so that I am able to say no when I need to or to say yes without resentment brewing. Congratulations Erica!

  4. Do no harm and take care of number one. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone or trying to bother people you care about, the latter shouldn’t be causing you to feel guilty. But that is easier said than done.

  5. there is a fine line between taking xare of ones self and feeling guilty.. but how can you no the difference.. i mean isnt it our duty as women to take care of the kids and the husband and the house.. no we put all these pressures on our self.

  6. I think I found it on family.org about good guilt and bad guilt. It was very instructive. You should put your family first, but you also should allow quiet time and date nights. Afterall, without a well rounded life, you’ll dry up and become useless with all the guilt we carry that we should not carry. I hope you find a happy medium.

  7. I myself do not have family to take care of or a job to juggle, I am only 19 yet I still find myself frequently carrying alot of guilt. Prioritizing for me is difficult finding an equal balance of time for my boyfriend, family, friends and school is hard! I feel guilty when I can’t hang out with my bf every tuesday and thursday and I feel guilty if I see one friend more than the other, and I feel even worse when I have to tell my family I won’t be able to make it home this Sunday for dinner. But I also LOVE my me-time and I find that the more down time I MAKE for myself, the happier I am and the less guilt I have about other things. I think it is important to find that balance with it all and make time for yourself. Even as a working mom and wife, if it can just be one or two evenings a week, do it! And don’t feel guilty about it! Set your kids up with a project, order out for dinner, and just take time for yourself. I think that is by far the most important thing any person, esp women, can do for themselves.

    1. Not according to Joy Ain! I can see how depression can be anger turned inward at times but not always. Guilt on the other (thus far in my deliberations), does seem to come back to inner anger. Angry at something one has to or should do, or angry at something one should not should not have done (even though it was something they wanted).

  8. What is all this guilt stuff? You come, do the best you can, improve it if possible and move on to the next thing. You miss the mark sometimes, so do I. Fix what you can, have good laugh and keep living. We were not built for worry or the constant weight of guilt. That’s the beauty of Christianity when you believe and really understand what it is. Forgive, repent, do better and be free. The birds do not worry – why should you?

  9. This is a cultural thing, I think.
    As a norwegian woman, no doubt, the social guilt is the heaviest. So I keep practicing to not pay attention to what others might think of my actions and lack of such.

  10. Guilt is international. I don’t have kids yet. At the moment I’m taking care of my needs, setting my limits and all that. I’m fortunate enough to have a boyfriend who is independent so he does his thing too. I hope that when I have kids I will be able to not feel guilty for taking time alone, going to the gym and daying no.

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