Life Coach Magazine

The Guilt Trap

By None @DefyGravityToo
The Guilt Trap
I guilt easily.  Or at least I used to.  Like many women, I reproached myself for not being the mother, daughter, friend, teacher, writer, and coworker I thought I should be.  I’d beat myself up for exercising too little and snacking too much, for being too organized—yes, I’m serious—and not productive enough.  Oh and I’d even occasionally feel guilty about genocide and world hunger, things over which I obviously have no control.
When I say "like many women," what I really mean is most.  A recent survey by Stylist magazine found that more than 96 percent of us feel guilty at least once a day.  As Erica Jong once famously said: “Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I’ll show you a man.”
Some of this can be attributed to wiring.  According to researchers, women are generally more empathic than men, more acutely aware of others’ feelings.  But some of this also comes down to women’s generalized lack of self-worth, reinforced over the millennia by cultural and religious tenets.  We’ve been taught from an early age to be “good” and that being good means putting others first.  When we don’t, we quickly feel bad.
Whatever the cause of my guilt, I realized somewhere along the line that I was wasting a lot of precious energy on it, energy that once freed up, could be used in more fruitful ways.  I also realized that if I didn’t value myself, others wouldn’t either.
So how did I get out of the guilt trap?  Believe me, it’s on ongoing process, but basically…
  • I stopped “shoulding” on myself.  If I was exhausted after a long day, but felt like I should call a friend to see how she was doing, I asked myself whether I really needed to pick up the phone right then.  Couldn't it wait until tomorrow?  Couldn't I email instead?  In other words, when I heard myself saying the word “should,” I paused a moment and asked myself, “Who says?”  Then I looked for alternative solutions.
  • I started putting my needs on par with my loved ones'.  I didn’t go to the opposite extreme and insist on putting my needs first--although, frankly, if I don’t, who will?--but I tried to be good to myself.  I no longer left that last piece of pie for someone else or felt like I had to stop whatever I was doing to rush downstairs and make dinner for my husband who, after all, is perfectly capable of making dinner himself.  I reminded myself that when I’m unhappy, I’m neither good company nor in much of a position to help others. 
  • I embraced my imperfections.  Rather than struggling to conform to some ideal, I decided to just be myself.  I finally recognized that my imperfections are the most interesting and, dare I say, lovable thing about me.  Just as only a handful of genes separate us from the apes, only a few quirky traits make us the individuals we are.  I decided to exalt those aspects of myself rather than try to eliminate them.
Oh, and just this morning I decided to pick up a copy of Knowing Your Value:  Women, Money and Getting What You're Worth, a new book by Mika Brezezinski  that examines how and why women continue to undervalue themselves in the workplace and offers advice for changing the status quo.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • A Heartfelt Letter to My First Child - I Miss Those Times Too

    Heartfelt Letter First Child Miss Those Times

    For those of us who chose to have more than one kid, have you ever thought of how life would be if you had only one? You would have so much more time for... Read more

    14 hours, 33 minutes ago by   A Happy Mum
  • This is How to Put Together a Fabulous Outfit In Minutes

    This Together Fabulous Outfit Minutes

    Putting together a stylish outfit everyday doesn't have to be tricky. In fact I've come up with a simple formula that you can use over and over for all... Read more

    14 hours, 36 minutes ago by   Imogenl
  • Cream Scones (Anneka Manning)

    Cream Scones (Anneka Manning)

    version;It was the end of a typical school day as the kids were streaming out from their classes..."Hi Sweetie!""Mum, we baked scones at school today.""Sounds... Read more

    15 hours, 8 minutes ago by   Zoebakeforhappykids
  • Blind Fear

    I write a lot about Love, about Justice, about Intuition- about all the essential things that see without seeing. I think a lot about blind spots, about the... Read more

    The 19 July 2017 by   Rarasaur
  • Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 – Daily Updates – Day 31 – Alan Young

    Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 Daily Updates Alan Young

    Latest news, Multiday News, Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2017 - Daily Updates - Day 31 Daily Diary Tuesday 18th July -... Read more

    The 19 July 2017 by   Abichal
  • Review: Hir (Steppenwolf Theatre)

    Review: (Steppenwolf Theatre)

    In Mac's kitchen-sink drama, the meek shall inherit the earth Review by Catey Sullivan Early on in Taylor Mac's Hir , the playwright offers up a monologue... Read more

    The 19 July 2017 by   Chicagotheaterbeat
  • How to Find a Foundation Repair Company

    Do you own a house? If this is the case, you might eventually encounter some problems with your home’s foundation. These problems can become very serious if the... Read more

    The 19 July 2017 by   Peppertan