How to deal with Guilt
Greetings my dear reader, today I want to talk to you about guilt, the type of internal turmoil that keeps you awake at night or keeps your therapist in business (I don’t have a therapist, but perhaps it may be a good idea).
Guilt is not necessarily a bad thing, for example feeling guilty for littering or smoking is guilt doing good. However, I am talking about the kind of guilt that makes you feel nauseous for not doing EVERYTHING on that to do list, for not being sociable enough, for being too sociable. I deal with guilt every day. I am sure you do too, maybe not all the time- but it’s there. Guilt for me is that little voice in the back of my head that judges what I do, tells me what I haven’t done, and tells me why I am wrong, why I am not as good as anyone else. Guilt is a big part of my life- and that is an awful thing.
Having that negative feeling with me all the time holds me back. I spend more time worrying about the things I should or shouldn’t have done than actually living. Guilt overwhelms me and usually comes hand in hand with worry, I will wake up every morning and the first thing I will do its feel guilty and worry about the state of my life.
I often think that everyone else has much more fun in their lives, and cannot be held back by their own mind in this way. However, it affects us all. Maybe I am too in my own head, but for me, it feels like I suffer from acute guilt and somedays it can rule me. Literally chaining me to my bed, and not allowing me to relax or enjoy the downtime my body has forced me to endure.
So how do you deal with guilt? After typing all of this and actually thinking about it, I think that perhaps that the answer lies in mind management- no not in an awful 1950’s sci-fi romp kind of way- but by adopting a fresher outlook. I recently spoke to someone, and they had dropped guilt from their mindset due to a family member contracting a serious illness, the fact that life is so short and it can all be taken from us in a heartbeat only goes to prove that doesn’t have to matter. Unless you have a horrifically tight deadline or your life depends on you finishing your to-do list, there is no point beating yourself up about it. So what if you didn’t write all the articles you planned to write, just do it tomorrow. Don’t feel guilty just because you wanted to relax instead of banging out all your meal prep for the week, you really can do it tomorrow.
Seeing the guilt as a mindset and perhaps a physical presence within your life also helps. I call my guilt Maureen -similar to Cordelia’s ghost Dennis in Angel- it sounds stupid but it allows me to voice my feelings, telling Maureen to sod off because I am actually happier watching old Nigella Lawson programmes in bed than finishing off an article or that extra page of research,works quite well. Although I think the people I live with think I am mad because I talk to myself, in a firm manner. Dealing with your guilt or Maureen in my case is all about mind over matter, as long as you genuinely will complete the task before its actual deadline it doesn’t really matter - there was no need to feel guilty in the first place.
So that’s how I feel with guilt, it is probably the biggest thing that I personally have to manage about myself, I would love to think that it helps at least one person manage the feeling of guilt. Let's all stick it too Maureen!
The autumnal images of Norman and myself I present alongside are unrelated, and make me feel wonderful which is a nice way to combat all that guilt.
That's all from me today, I will see you on Tuesday as always. I will just give thanks to M&S for the Jumper of Dreams in the form of this golden ochre number. It officially rolls neck season.
Shot by the delicious Rachel Pechey, and with special thanks to one of my best friends, Norman
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Jeans: Burton, Old