Guilt is a funny thing. It helps keep you in check because normally when you stray away from your morals, is when guilt kicks in. So, with that understanding, I am going to make a conscious effort to not let guilt rule my life. Often, I let others guilt me into doing something I may not pick for myself or even participate in something that I have no desire to do but because I feel guilty of letting people down, I force myself to do whatever it is.
Now, I am not referring to those times where you are doing something “unethical” and you feel guilty – because in those instances are when you should listen to your guilt (example – cheating on a partner). Nor should you miss out on chances because there are going to be different experiences that come into your life only from doing things that are unknown/out of your norm (example – taking a trip with friends). My example comes from this morning of what I mean/sparked this blog. I had multiple signs to not drive into work and because I knew I would feel guilty had I worked from home, I choose to drive in. Luckily nothing happened but regardless – I can do the same things at work that I can do at home, so my point is I “risked” driving in for what reason??? GUILT!
Guilt can also be linked to the drive of why I made my life decisions (not the only component but did play a role). I know I covered this in one of my blogs, but I have done things because of the way I did/did not want to be perceived by society. Another layer to that is I didn’t want to feel guilty. But now that I am older and down the path that I am on, I am starting to feel guilty about not staying true to myself or what I feel is the right thing for me. I am starting to look at guilt as a way to draw the line of what/who I need in my life and how much I should really take into consideration their opinions. If a person starts to guilt trip me into something or if it becomes a pattern – then maybe I don’t need that person in my life since they obviously can’t respect my answers or take into consideration of how I feel. If I want to go down path A but my family/friends are making me feel guilty because it isn’t their path or how they think I should live my life, maybe then their opinions shouldn’t have any weight on my decisions.
I am just coming to the point of where I need less and less validation from those closest to me. Now that doesn’t mean to say, I will just go and do my own things and forget everyone else! I will always take people into consideration, but I am working through my own boundaries and what I find is healthy for me. Another important piece that I am finding is how supportive of a wife I have in regard to my life. So even though I am working through mentally what is working/not working in my life, having that solid person to go to when things just are chaos in my mind, has helped me tremendously. I just won’t let someone limit me in what I know is ultimately right for me and the life I am trying to create. And a lot of that revolves around me stopping the mentality of feeling “bad/guilty”.