Guilt for eating something “bad.”
Guilt for sleeping in when you really need extra sleep.
Guilt for cancelling evening plans because you are exhausted and a solo date with your DVR sounds like the perfect mental health boost.
Guilt for taking vacation when you have too many deadlines.
Guilt for spending money on a dream vacation, concert, or amazing meal when you “should” be saving for the future.
Guilt for turning down social plans to pursue a personal goal.
Guilt for skipping a planned workout because you are too sore to lift your arms.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
~Thich Nhat Hahn
Of all the emotions humans experience, guilt is often incredibly unproductive. It does not incite change (like you might hope it would) nor does it encourage positive action. Conversely, it is more likely to leave you feeling angry with yourself, or like you lack self control, or are selfish, and therefore may perpetuate negative feelings about yourself (which can lead to further choices that make you feel negative).
Sure, we all do things that we probably should feel guilty about (i.e. lashing out at someone we love just because we are tired), but the majority of the things we feel guilty about do not serve us well.
You can lose the guilt over advancing your career, and the sacrifices you have to make to do so, whether leaving your current company for a better opportunity, pursuing further education, or going after that promotion.
You can lose the guilt for turning down the “safe” job, the one everyone tells you is the “smart” decision, to pursue your dream of becoming a photographer or musician or writer or starting your own small business.
You can lose the guilt over eating what you want to eat, enjoying it, and moving on.
You can lose the guilt over being true to who you are, and what you stand for, even if it means you receive backlash.
You can lose the guilt over putting yourself first (this is a really hard one). Remember, it’s like the oxygen masks on the plane, if you do not take care of your own survival (happiness, fulfillment, mental health, etc.) first, you cannot properly take care of anyone else.
You can lose the guilt over ending a relationship where there isn’t reciprocity. Know your worth and accept nothing less.
You can lose the guilt over improving yourself (starting to exercise, quitting smoking, drinking less…), even if it means you lose friends who do not “like” the “new” you.
You can lose the guilt over taking the time, no matter how long it takes, to discover who you are, what you love, and what makes you want to wake up each morning.
The sooner you start to accept yourself for who you are, for what drives you, and for what makes you feel fulfilled, the sooner you will start to embrace and appreciate life.
“Let go of who you think you are supposed to be
and be who you are.”
Run on, my friends.