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Guilt. We often carry it so closely we hardly recognize its part in our lives anymore. Now, don’t get me wrong here. Guilt (like all emotions) can be a signal to take a closer look. And if we take that closer look and recognize we’ve done something wrong, whether hurting someone else or ourselves, taking the steps towards responsibility and repair is necessary. And many times, we feel guilty over things that, when taking a closer look, were never our responsibility in the first place.
Many women have a propensity for unnecessary guilt. We feel guilty that we’re not working out enough, eating healthy, spending enough time with our kids, or not being successful enough. We tell ourselves we should be better, look better, have more capacity, and the list goes on. When we’re driven by the fear of not measuring up to a standard we’ve created in our minds (one that many times equates to perfection), we can become extremely efficient, motivated, and ruthless in our pursuit of the unattainable.
So, you might be thinking, “Okay, you got me! Guilty again for feeling guilty a lot. What now?” I’m glad you asked! Here are 4 ways to counteract unnecessary guilt in your life.
Yep. It may sound simple, but keep a daily gratitude journal or do any exercise where you’re thinking, writing, or saying out loud what you’re thankful for at least once a day. This helps take your mind out of the “weeds” and focus on the bigger picture of what matters most to you.
You need to set boundaries for others and yourself. Creating boundaries helps you protect your energy and say no to the stuff you don’t have the capacity for. Essentially, it helps you stop overextending yourself out of guilt!
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to set the bar super low here by any means. You have everything it takes to be the most incredible version of yourself. Go after your lofty goals! But perfection is not the standard. Take it off the table…like literally shove it off the table. It’s not an option anymore. Get it out of here!
Give yourself some credit, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Daily activities are tiny wins. Instead of beating yourself up for not being “better,” recognize what you have done well.
Guilt is a feeling that we all experience at some point in our lives, but it is important to recognize when it is necessary and when it is not. When we choose perfection over being human and allow guilt to dictate our motives, we lose in the end. We lose true connection and bonding with someone over the fact that we (just like them) don’t always get it right. We lose out on laughing and not taking life so seriously. We lose moments of contentment and joy. We miss learning opportunities while we’re wrapped up in fear or regret. It is essential to take a step back and recognize that, and counteract unnecessary guilt in our lives. These 4 ways to counteract unnecessary guilt in your life can be a starting point to help you begin to overcome guilt, and start to live in a more authentic and fulfilling way.