We all experience it at some point in our lives. We all live with it.
Guilt is usually something we bring on ourselves through our actions..or inaction. Others sometimes trigger it or make us realize the error in our ways, but we have to live with it.
Its like an infection that finds its way into all aspects of our lives.
Guilt starts at an early age. Kids feel the wrath of their parent’s guilt when told how unappreciative they are for all the things their parents do to make their lives better. Kids don’t always thank their parents enough for the clothes they buy them or food that is prepared for them or for the beds that they make each and every morning for them. Parents can make kids feel guilty for only thinking about themselves sometimes and not thinking about how others feel.
We feel guilty for not eating everything off our plates and our parents remind us that there are children in third world countries who are starving and would be grateful for the scraps of food we push around with our forks because we don’t like the way it tastes.
We feel guilt in the actions we take when at school. Socially, we can feel guilt for stepping on others as we try to make our way up the social ladder.
We feel guilty for worrying our parents if we are out late and don’t call in to reassure them that we are safe and out of harms way. We feel guilty if we forget to buy a birthday card for someone special or close to us. We feel guilty for not thanking our grandparents for something special they did or for neglecting them because we might be too busy with our own lives.
We feel guilty when we buy something that is extravagant (in retail its called “buyers remorse”). We question and justify our actions when we partake in a little retail therapy.
We feel guilty when we call in sick or need a mental health day and spend the day having lunch with a friend, working out or taking in a movie (ok…maybe we don’t feel so guilty for this!).
We feel guilty when, as parents, we crave a night out to rekindle our marital relationships or just simply need a break from our children (again..maybe not so much guilt is felt!!).
We feel guilty when we sneak into the pantry or fridge late at night and indulge a craving and eat something decadent or left-over and feel like crap the next day. Maybe this is just feeling stupid and not guilty?
We feel guilty for saying things to loved ones in the heat of the moment that we later regret saying. We sometimes go to bed angry at our loved ones because of something that happened or said earlier in the day. Words can often be so hurtful…sometimes more so than physical abuse.
We feel guilty for spending too much time at work and not enough time at home with those that love us the most. We can feel guilt for missing out on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies and other milestone events in our family’s lives because other things like work commitments take us away from what is truly more important.
We can feel guilt for lack of action taken over the course of our lives as we reflect in our senior years remembering about all the missed opportunities that we could have taken that could have either changed our lives for the better or taken our lives in new and different directions.
We can feel guilt for not being better parents, spouses, children or friends.
The more I write, the more guilty I feel!!
Or….we can take action and begin to rid ourselves of this guilt.
Listening to our inner voice (following your heart), thinking more before making rash decisions, thinking twice before saying something that might hurt someone else, thinking more about how your actions or inactions will affect others that are close to you. These are little things that we can do to begin to shed the guilt from our lives.
Let’s face it..who really wants to live life with regret? Who really wants to live life filled with anger and remorse? Who wants a life riddled with guilt?
We don’t have to live with all this guilt…
I sure as hell don ‘t.