Guilt is one of the hardest things for me to deal with. Time and time again, I feel bad about letting others down, often even for the smallest, most insignificant things. And nearly always at my own expense.
I realised I’m not alone in feeling like this.
Many of us worry too much about what others think or how others feel as a result of our own actions.
Of course, in many situations that’s certainly not a bad thing. It’s a normal human function and something we learn at a very young age. Cause and effect. What we do has an impact on those around us.
And we have empathy for others. It helps us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and feel their pain. We learn and develop as humans if we can understand how others feel – and we adapt our behaviour accordingly.
There will always be times when we need to put others before ourselves – if you’re a parent for example, it’s your job to look after a little life and put your child’s needs first.
But sometimes we need to put ourselves first. Sometimes it’s ok to be a little selfish. But it doesn’t mean it comes without guilt.
I’m struggling with the guilt I feel at cancelling plans I make. Whether it’s plans to meet up with a friend for coffee or plans to go to an exercise class. And if I pull out it’s nearly always because my health takes over. Despite the fact that I don’t feel well, and by sticking to my plans I’ll feel worse, I feel guilt over letting someone else down. But surely my health is more important in this situation right? And friends will understand?
And yet I still feel an enormous amount of irrational guilt. I know need to give myself a break every now and then and I know my health comes first but I can’t help but feel bad about it. So no matter which option I choose, one way or another I end up feeling bad.
I don’t know how I win in this situation!
I think it’s perhaps that I nescan to be realistic with myself – and my friend or the plans I’m making – in the first place. ‘Yes’ may not always be the realistic answer. No matter how much I may want to do something, I don’t know how I’ll feel on the day. If I allow myself to be a little more flexible, then if I do wake up on the day and don’t feel up to the challenges of the day ahead (if I have a migraine, for example) I won’t feel as guilty if i had pre-warned my friend and pre-warned myself. I therefore don’t waste time feeling guilty and I can practice self-care.
How do you guys deal with guilt?!