Guilt is a paradoxical word.

Guilt seems to be the ever ending feeling for a lot of people I chat with these days.  It brings about an never ending list of do’s and don’t, should haves, could haves, why’s and of course the never ending helping, caring and volunteering that takes over and becomes often a detriment to our health.  We have less and less time to relax our body and mind down and find ourselves at a steady peek of stress that seems to become the accepted new normal. 

I find this to be true for most of us at some level but it seems to be truer for women and especially for mothers.  I talk to women all the time and hear this story over and over.  We get overly involved with our children and others and don’t even consider that we too need self care.  We also get caught up in past mistakes that give us a way of punishing ourselves that we somehow justify.  

Guilt on the other hand is a good thing for it was given to us as a mechanism to gage when we need to revaluate a situation, make amends or to make the necessary changes that are important to the health and wellness of others including ourselves.  When we choose to stay paralyzed in guilt by not changing the very things that are creating the problems in the first place is when guilt becomes our nemesis.  Then of course we can feel guiltier and so on goes the merry go round and we get to be the martyrs all the way to ill health and resentment.  Guilt is only a problem when we  use guilt as an excuse to not make the necessary changes in our lives that will give us health and peace of mind that action (or no action) can bring.  Often we get addicted to helping and caring for others and or even become addicted to self hatred because of past mistakes.  Dare to ask yourself.

What is the payoff I am receiving for doing this? 

Do I need and thrive on the approval of others?

Do I need control?  

Am I so important and special that I am the only person on the planet that can do this?

How much longer am I willing to complain about doing to much before I decide to make a change?

How much longer am I willing use my past mistakes as an excuse to not step into my greatness?

How does it benefit those I love to stay stuck in the guilt?

When we start to answer these questions honestly can we begin to understand how many more choices we really have.  Without the willingness to look deep guilt can become one of the most narcissistic feelings we can have.  The more guilt we carry the more self important we inflate ourselves.  Guilt is only supposed to use as a bridge back to restoration and balance.  When we get stuck in it we become an island with all the material to build a bridge but refusing to.   This is where we get to be the victim, we can receive all these accolades of approval from service yet inside be frustrated at the very people we claim to deeply care about.  Or we get to stay stuck in a self imposed prison of self hatred and self depravation to use as an excuse not to make changes. We also get to complain when our body breaks down from stress and the very people we want to care for we no longer can. Is this true charity or love?  In no way does it mean we should not be in service to others for it is the foundation of humanity but before you say yes today ask yourself a couple of more questions.  

Do I really feel passionate about this?  When we feel passion about what we are doing our bodies feel energized and we don’t feel resentments.  

Do I feel resentment at the very thought of saying yes?  Listen to your heart; know that you are not doing anyone any good by saying yes if you do.

Lastly; will saying yes take away the only valuable time I have for my own restoration and peace? Realize the best gift you can give others is your health and wellness.  With that gift you will be able to serve others with an even greater love that will sustain you and others that will not deplete you.  This is the truest form of service. 

It has taken me a long time to learn these lessons and although I have not mastered them yet I have come to know the freedom of doing and not doing things without a sense of guilt attached.  This has given me enough joy and peace to continue to be open for change. 

Life truly is what we make it!

 

 

 

 

 

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is a beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is life, fight for it!
Mother Teresa

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