If you are watching television, do you feel guilty that you are not folding the laundry? And if you are folding the laundry, do you feel guilty for not taking the dogs out for a walk? And if you are taking the dogs out for a walk, do you feel guilty that you are not returning all the emails that need responding to? And if you suggest doing something that you want to do, do you feel guilty that you are not taking everyone else’s opinions into consideration?

Here are some ideas and ways to shift your thinking when it comes to guilt:

Financial Guilt

Do you feel guilty if you…

  • Buy something for frivolous for yourself.
  • Get a beauty treatment that is not “necessary,” such as a pedicure.
  • Buy something that is not on sale.
  • Go out to eat when there is food at home you can cook.

Advice:  Remind yourself that money is simply a form of energy.  Sometimes when we spend money we think of it as a “loss,” failing to remember that the energy is just changing form. Ask yourself how the energy is showing up.  Does spending money in this way make you feel better? If so, how? Will it improve your mood? Boost your spirit? Save your energy?

Friend and Family Guilt

Do you feel guilty if you…

  • See someone you know but purposely avoid them?
  • Always get a birthday present from someone and you don’t reciprocate?
  • Have a new demanding job and miss momentous life celebrations?
  • Secretly dislike certain members of your family?

Advice:  Remind yourself that whatever you want, feel or do is “okay.” You only feel guilty when you judge what you are feeling as being “good” or “bad.” There is nothing wrong with doing what works better for you or feeling the way you do.

There are two sides to every situation and it is your responsibility to listen to yourself and accept yourself. You can do anything, but what do you want to do?  You can’t please everyone. Be authentic.  There is no reason to feel guilty about who you are.  You are who you are.  That’s the awesome thing about you!

Kid Guilt

Do you feel guilty if you…

  • ·       Take a yoga class instead of taking your child to an event of their own.
  • ·       Get a job in a different area and now your children have to leave their friends.
  • ·       You bought fast food for the kids for dinner – again.
  • ·       You can’t go to their awards ceremony because of work.

Advice: Know your priorities and remember that you are important too.  Sometimes, parents can get lost in thinking that to be “good parents” they must sacrifice themselves, when in fact, you have to do what you have to do in order of your priorities and what’s most important for you and your family. June Cleaver types do not exist in real life and you won’t be able to meet ALL  your children’s needs.

Sometimes it means that the children don’t get what they want in the short term, but in terms of the long term and the bigger picture – they are getting the overall best – whether that means you making more money, doing something that makes you happier (and therefore being a happier parent), or doing something that saves time.

By showing your children that you respect yourself enough to hold yourself to priorities, you encourage them to set healthy boundaries for themselves as they go through life and become healthy adults.  Communicate with your children and help them to find the benefits they will receive by you taking certain action.

Green Guilt

Do you feel guilty if you…

  • ·       Don’t take action to recycle everything that is recyclable
  • ·       Do less than you think you “should” to reduce your carbon footprint
  • ·       Buy foods that are not organic or not local because they are cheaper
  • ·       Eat a hunk of meat once in a while
  • ·       Drive a car that is a gas guzzler and “bad” for the environment

Advice:  Give yourself permission to get over it.  Criticizing yourself for what you are not doing is not the way to get yourself to do it.  In a perfect world, our actions would all be ecologically perfect, but it isn’t and we aren’t.  You’ll live longer and feel greener if you realize that you can only keep up with what make sense for you.  Let yourself off the hook.

If you sincerely want to make living green a higher priority in your life, get some books and do some research on it. The more you understand what you can do and why, the more you will want to participate.  “Guilting” yourself into doing it is not healthy.

“Everything” Guilt

Do you feel guilty if you…

  • ·       Mindlessly surf the internet instead of doing something “important.”
  • ·       You eat a pint of ice cream before bed.
  • ·       Don’t think you exercise as often as you “should.”
  • ·       Don’t change the sheets every week.
  • ·       Fantasize about having a different life even though you love your family

Advice: Be your own best supporter – limit your negative self-talk.  What you do is what you do.  What you did is what you did.  Imagine if your friend told you the exact same thing – what would you say?  You would talk her or him out of feeling guilty.  We all tend to judge ourselves too strongly.

Next time you feel guilty about something take yourself through these steps.

  • ·       Tell yourself what you would tell a friend.
  • ·       Find some benefits to balance out the drawbacks.
  • ·       What did you gain?  More time? More energy? A mental break?
  • ·       Remind yourself that judging what you did is worse than what you did.
  • ·       Make new plans for tomorrow.  Every moment is a fresh start.  Take action to feel better.  Schedule a work out,  reaffirm what is important in your life or apologize if you feel like you let someone down.

If you can’t get through it on your own, call a trusted friend and tell them what you are feeling guilty for and let them talk you out of it. Everything is a choice.  Let go of what you can’t change.  Guilt is not worth holding onto.  Change your perspective on it.  You are the authority of your life and no one can make you feel guilty except yourself.

Let Guilt Go!

Being flexible in your thinking allows you to be more flexible in your actions.  There are so many things going on in our lives now, it’s important to know what your priority is – and then let everything else go.


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