Whatever one does there can be a reason to feel guilty about it. Sometimes there are conflicting views about what is the correct thing to do which makes decisions more confusing. In this day and age of information overload there are so many more things we read and hear to make us feel guilty. All this guilt can be very stressful. Perhaps it is time to stop feeling so guilty.
If you are a working mum you may feel guilty for not being home with your young children. When you do take time off to look after sick children you may feel you have let down the team at work. Ariana Huffington says, ’I think while all mothers deal with feelings of guilt, working mothers are plagued by guilt on steroids’. If you are a stay at home mum you may feel guilty about not being in the paid work force and may hate that question, ‘Are you working?’
Sometimes it is difficult to prioritise with all the demands on your time. You may have ageing parents who need help but your kids need you too. You may feel guilty for not spending enough time with your partner. You feel your children should have the opportunity to attend after school sport or other activities but then you worry they aren’t having enough time to just play and be kids.
With an increased level of environmental awareness there are many things we can feel guilty about. There was a time when we threw all our rubbish in the bin and that was the end of it. I am in favour of recycling but it is quite complicated and sometimes I am uncertain I have got it right. Some things are difficult to dispose of in an approved way. I know I am not supposed to put batteries from remotes, torches and such items in the bin but where is my local drop off point? I have a container of batteries in the shed waiting for me to find out what to do with them.
You may feel guilty about what you eat or the quantity. Sometimes you may feel guilty about resorting to getting take away when you are tired or running out of time. Perhaps you think you don’t get enough exercise and aren’t doing the ‘right’ thing for other aspects of your health.
The list of things one can feel guilty about goes on and on. However, all this guilt is not healthy. I could feel guilty about feeling guilty. How can we deal with feeling guilty and overwhelmed?
Firstly, remember that no one is perfect or even close to it. There is no such thing as perfect anyway.
When there are too many demands on your time, take a breath and simply say ‘No’ or ‘No, I can’t do that.’ Don’t feel you have to apologise or explain. Don’t feel guilty. (I am trying to do this more often myself.)
Think about all the things you do which are ‘good’ or acceptable rather than focussing on the things you do ‘wrong’. When you start to think about it you will realise you do many things that are ‘right’ or ‘good’.
I like the, 80% healthy and 20% sometimes foods rule for eating and not feeling guilty. I think this could be a good rule to apply to other aspects of life to take the pressure off. Perhaps there are situations where 50% of the time getting it right is good enough.
I often ask myself, ‘Will the world end?’ when I am worrying about not getting something done, not doing it well enough or not getting it ‘right’. That helps put things in perspective and stops me feeling guilty.
I read through numerous quotes dealing with guilt and feeling guilty. Some were lengthy and complicated. Then I came across a quote from Emily Giffen (a writer of novels) and decided to adopt it as part of my thinking, ‘Guilt is a supreme waste of time and energy.’ Thanks, Emily