The Guilt

While writing last week about vacations and words and all of that, I realized I have a shit ton of guilt. Ridiculous amounts. I feel bad if I take a break from my day, or don’t email someone back fast enough, or sleep in too late, or eat a cookie when I should have an apple instead, or skip a work out in order to lay around, or if I spend extra money on things that aren’t absolutely necessary, or (and especially) when I say no to people.

I have no fix for this at the moment, just a realizing that damn, I am causing myself a ton of anxiety. Tons. Sometimes I’m just dragggging my feet because I don’t want to do xyz but I feel so guilty if I don’t that it’s a battle of wills inside myself – where I’m always the loser.

Here are the things I know for sure:

1) No one will die no matter what I’m torn between.

2) Sometimes doing something I don’t want to do is the right decision, and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s ok to sleep in or skip something I’m “supposed” to be doing.

3) I don’t know how to NOT feel guilty, I don’t know how to shake off the anxiety of achieving my own expectations.

I woke myself up prematurely from a nap on Saturday because I didn’t want to sleep too much. Which kind of left me a mess for a few hours.

I take on too many tasks and then feel overwhelmed, I feel like I should be able to squeeze in more and more when maybe I can’t.

I don’t know how to give myself a break. I don’t know how to let myself off the hook.

Do you?

16 thoughts on “The Guilt”

  1. I think this a problem women have, we fit into a rescuer role, always trying to do what we feel we have to to meet others’ needs which leaves us super guilty when we look to ourselves. But in order to ever be able to do anything, especially for others, we need to learn to self-care, to say its ok to take a break, these are my needs. When men be assertive and say what they need its fine, even a good thing but if we do, were bitches.

    Its not on, but no, I have no idea how to stop the guilt, except maybe to think ‘I can’t be the woman I’m meant to be or to help others without caring for myself first’. Its a tough one. X

  2. I absolutely know how you feel. Sometimes when I get into bed at night I actually feel disgusted with myself because I hadn’t done everything I needed or thought I needed to do that day. It’s not worth the stress, but it’s hard to shake. I read a book about this concept of “self-centered fear” and it’s helped me shake the guilt a little.

  3. Yeah. This is me. To a T. And add in the being your own boss thing creates some serious internal struggles. I’m CONSTANTLY feeling guilty that I’m not getting photos to my clients fast enough. CONSTANTLY. This creates little-to-no time for James, myself, or anything else for that matter until I get this 1st task at hand taken care of. Anything else I do instead I feel guilty about. Add in that I feel guilty about not spending enough time with James – and it’s an endless cycle.

    Were you raised Catholic by chance? My mom has a huge guilt problem too – we always joke that it’s a Catholic thing – but sometimes I think it’s a woman thing. Men never feel guilty about taking a 4 hour nap! (At least James doesn’t. haha)

  4. I think there is a bit of Catholic guilt going on.

    I had to learn the hard way what saying yes to everything meant. In college, I spent 3 years working nearly full-time while going to school full-time, and volunteering. Saying yes to everyone, all the time, packed on 50 lbs in three years. Not taking care of myself literally slowed me down. I have to work out and have a few hours here and there of down time to be the Best Liz Possible. And the Best Liz Possible is better for everyone (trust me on this one!).

    Living that lesson has helped lessen the guilt. It’s not totally gone but I feel more confident putting it in check. Also, ask for help! C had no idea how much stress unfinished tasks caused me until I told him about it!

  5. I’m going to be annoying. I do know how to give myself a break and stop the guilt. Partly because I generally don’t feel much guilt. If I want or need to do something, I go ahead and do it, so there’s not much agonizing over it. But I’ve gotten to know myself well enough that if I choose to have a cookie or choose not to get outside on a gorgeous day, then I’m 100000% okay about those choices. When it comes to thinks like eating well and bettering myself, I think that it’s all about my actually wanting those things as opposed to the contrary, if that makes sense. When I go for an apple, it’s not because I think I *should* be eating that apple, it’s because I actually want it. And if I take on a lot of responsibility, then I don’t do it because I feel I *should* say yes to all of these things, it’s because I actually want to do all of those tasks. But again, I know that if I take on too much (and don’t leave room for myself), that I will be a miserable sonofabitch. And don’t even get me started on emails, etc. I trust myself when it comes to time expectations . . . if it’s important, I’ll respond immediately. If it’s not, someone can wait another freaking 12 hours while I’m otherwise busy. Why do we need everything rightthisveryminute?? We don’t!! Argh. So all of this to say I don’t feel the guilt because I don’t feel that there’s anything to feel guilty about.

    I don’t mean to be annoying, really. I just think that on the whole, we’re way too obliged and way too frazzled, and I hate feeling that way. It’s not that I’m a slacker, not at all. But I want to feel a certain way as I go through my life, and walking around with a knot in my stomach over what I need to be doing isn’t conducive to that. I want to be happy, and calm. That’s not always possible, of course, and often forces outside myself prevent that from happening. But if I have anything to do with it, then I try to do what I can to make myself feel that happy and calm.

    1. This is interesting because 1) you’re so not annoying and 2) the one thing I do to calm my crazy ass down is to DECIDE that this is what I’m doing, end of story. If that makes any sense… Once I put it to bed and decide that yes, I’m tackling this project or no, I’m deciding right now to sit here on this couch and do nothing for the rest of the day and everything else can wait until tomorrow – that’s when I feel great. Making that choice is super important. But I can’t always get to that place. I’m too conflicted.

      But I totally understand what you’re saying.

  6. I can relate to this. For me, it is a catholic thing. I grew up catholic and went to catholic school, and I was taught to feel guilty. As an adult, I’ve consciously decided not to feel guilty. It’s a struggle, but it’s such an oppressing feeling. I know that if I want to be happy, I need to not feel guilt. There is no good that comes out of it. That’s my choice, but it is hard. I also got up early from a nap on Saturday afternoon because there was still so much on my to do list and I didn’t want to sleep too much. It’s a daily struggle, but knowing where it comes and recognizing how toxic guilt has been in my life has helped me get it in check somewhat.

  7. Holy ass weasels, do I know how you feel. It’s that #2 that I struggle with the most. I feel like if I have the opportunity to do the “right” thing–even if it’s not necessarily the right thing in that situation–I’m a terrible person if I don’t do it. (See: Not getting up at 8am to run, even though I didn’t get to bed until 2am and I’m run down and getting sick.) It’s something I’m trying to work on, but that guilt is just so damn stubborn!

  8. Hellz to the yes.

    I gave myself permission not to attend my writing group last month. It had been a couple of crazy weeks, I was exhausted, bla bla bla. I felt horribly guilty about it. After the fact, it felt AMAZING! Like I had somehow cheated the system, ha.

    I’m trying to be better about
    A) Not overpacking my schedule, which I KNOW I tend to do, and I KNOW when I do this it stresses me out like whoa.
    B) Just “going with the flow”, as the cool kids say. If something doesn’t happen, or doesn’t happen according to plan…it’s ok. As you say, no one dies.

  9. Ummm, 1, 2 and 3 happen to me a lot , but at the same time, I try to force myself to l-e-t t-h-i-n-g-s g-o .
    In general I am able to have a rest during the weekends, by doing different things. But I have trouble with saying no.
    Can not really give you advice, except, maybe make yourself busy. Know that I write it it sound counter productive, but for instance, baking calms me down. And makes my mind stop thinking in those things that should just go away.

  10. Nope. Except a few weeks ago when I emailed my two best friends and challenged them to a competition of letting ourselves off the hook a bit. That we should strive to do it, and score ourselves a 10 if we did awesomely at it each week. Because hello, it is crippling us all!!! So thanks for the honesty.

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