As I said goodbye to my daughter and little grandson yesterday, I felt a nagging pang of guilt… it was strong, almost overwhelming.
To the point that I nearly rang her and asked her if she was ok…Why? It had been a lovely day, they had been round the house with me all day, we had enjoyed a warm-hearted, fun afternoon… my grandson delighting me as always.
We’d shared a home-cooked dinner and laughs like we so often do. So WHY did I feel so guilty?
Because, in the late afternoon, I said that I would need to do some work, very gently, with no insist or stern tone of voice, and my daughter had very gently replied that it was time for a little boy’s bath, and so they went…maybe an hour earlier than they might normally have left.
And then they were gone, and in the silence, left to get on with my work I felt a gnawing guilt from gently nudging them out the door so I could work for a couple of hours in peace.
Does this sound at all familiar to you?
I sat with it for a while, and revisited the lovely day we’d had…I’ve been there for them so much, and I always will. I love to help her. Slowly, over time, the guilt started to evaporate away, and I got on with my work with a happy sense of entitlement to do so. There was another feeling mixed in with that emotion I realised later as I reflected on my reaction, it was something a little deeper and harder to catch….almost like LOSS….and then it struck me that it WAS loss….loss of my role!
As a mother, and a carer, needed and necessary with a job to do. But now it was just me, at the keyboard, just working for myself, for my own benefit. The feeling is so unfamiliar when you’re happy to give a lot to others, that giving to yourself is actually stepping wa-ay outside your comfort zone!
Guilt is one of the denser, heavier emotions, in that it doesn’t serve you or others at all to feel it (It’s only use in evolutionary terms is to make sure that when you do bad, you don’t do it again!). It actually has a negative impact on your life and your thinking. It’s a dominant emotion I see over and again in my clients that (apart from fear), will keep them in their comfort zone….year after year, if it’s allowed to carry on ruling their decisions.
It’s much easier to be in that comfortable role of giving to others, and not ‘taking’ for yourself.
That way you don’t have to start thinking about what your own needs really are. Because this may involve negotiation, or some form of assertion, even asking for what you want can be daunting to one who finds it just plain easier to ‘go with the flow’. If we’re not careful, it can become a very convenient excuse for NOT getting on with your own life…”I feel so guilty” can almost sound like noble sacrifice can’t it?
So how do we prevent guilt from becoming the driving force?
How do we stop it from becoming that invisible brick wall keeping you in your comfort zone, and stopping you from fulfilling your own dreams and destiny?
You could go on forever in that mild dis-comfort zone living through the achievements of others, and never really know what it feels like to smash through it, and experience the exhilaration of freedom that lies on the other side.
There are 5 golden rules that will open a gap through that brick wall, leading you onto the path of your own dreams…You then inspire others to have a healthy respect for their own needs, and you have more to give ultimately, as a happier, more fulfilled person, more able to use your own tools, and less dependent on others’ happiness for your own!…..
1. BEING A ‘LITTLE BIT SELFISH’…
It’s not about taking more than your fair share, it’s taking EXACTLY your fair share…no more, no less! You have permission to do this, as much as you recognise that others have permission too,….imagine it was one of your loved-ones asking for what they need… you would give it in a heartbeat, right?
2. FORGIVING YOURSELF…
…Yes, really! Because when we don’t prioritise our own needs, we send the message to ourselves that we’re not worth it. Forgiveness will help you gently let go of the feeling that you’ve given too much to others and denied yourself the chance to shine…..Take some time out to sit with any resentment you may have from the past…where does it come from? gently tell yourself that you are forgiven…in fact, there’s nothing to forgive!
3. TAKING A LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE…
Bronnie Ware wrote a book called “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying”….written by a nurse working in end-of-life care …she saw a recurring theme, the top regret her patients had in their lives.. NOT BEING TRUE TO THEMSELVES! At the end of the day, this is YOUR life, your loved ones are part of the journey. Try this simple visioning exercise…..go forward 10 years into the future, and imagine the happiest you possible…content, fulfilled, living a wonderful life….what have you done for yourself over that 10 years that has made you so happy now? conversely, you could go forward to a time imagining as if you hadn’t had the courage to step outside your comfort zone…how cheated would you feel for yourself? what delights would you have missed out on? REGRET is a terrible thing…DON’T set yourself up for it…it lasts and lasts!
4. A LITTLE BIT OF PAIN- A LOT OF GAIN!…
It’s a natural reaction to run away from painful emotions and reactions…it’s an impulsive response to discomfort, but one we can change if we choose, it just takes a little extra effort and recognition. When you feel the discomfort of the old default emotions around guilt, just notice that is what is happening right now…no need to act on it, just observe how it feels…it’s amazing how quickly that emotion ‘transmutes’ into a positive state…merely sitting with it will allow you the natural insight to begin to let it go…leaving behind a stronger sense of what’s really driving you, and how to tackle it.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT INSTINCTS!…
That little insistent voice? It never gives up year on year…you’re dying to learn a new language, or write a book, learn to knit…whatever it is! If it keeps coming back…it’s your intuition telling you to follow your bliss! That thing that you were actually put here to do! We’re all given an amazing set of our own unique tools, and it is our destiny, our right, our DUTY to begin to learn to use them, to delight in our accomplishments, to achieve our own dreams and goals that we set for ourselves. This is a long journey….you’re entitled to enjoy it!
If this resonated with you at all, I’d love to hear your own story…please leave a comment, or you could join us in My Diet Less Life over on Facebook, where we all get together, talk about the things that really matter to us, and support each other on our Weight Loss Journey 🙂