Lately, it has become more and more apparent to me that I’m being mean and unfair towards myself pretty much all the time. I seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle that I’m having trouble getting out of. You see, I feel guilty almost all the time. It can be that I don’t feel like I’m a good enough a mother, it can be that I don’t feel like I’m a good enough a wife, or that I’m not efficient enough in my studies, or that the house is always a mess, or, or, or… I always feel like I have to be doing something and when I do, I always feel like it’s done at the expense of something else I should or could be doing. It’s a vicious circuit that leads nowhere. It’s a fight with my unconsciousness that I can’t win!
I’ve often wondered “Is it just me?!?” …or something related to the fact that I am a woman and that we tend to do this to ourselves. Whatever the reason is, my husband certainly does not seem to have this problem. Most of the time, he seems blissfully guilt-free. And while I try my best to feel happy for him, it annoys the hell out of me! I’m petty enough to envy him for it! And yes, of course that makes me feel guilty! How twisted is that? Like I said, I can only lose! And it seems to me that no matter how much I try to be more efficient, It’s never quite enough, I always feel a little behind schedule and end up being completely exhausted mentally and in desperate need for some me-time. And of course – yes you guessed it – the me-time only leads to more guilty feelings! What can I say, I’m a lost case!
I know I’m being completely ridiculous, which makes it even more of a problem. I mean, if I know it’s there, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to rid myself of it, right? I’ve talked about this with my husband and he has the simplest solution: “Just let it go, no one expects you to do everything”. Well, if it only was that simple my love. The fact is that I myself seem to expect me to be capable of doing it all. I seem to expect myself to be the super mom who is a perfect caretaker for her two autistic kids while managing to have an exciting career, eating healthy and stay in shape, is the fun and sexy wife, attentive friend and daughter who keeps a clean and lovely home, everything done with a smile on her face. Not living up to this standard is a failure, right? …a natural reason for feeling guilty, right?
Well, I went online and started to investigate and guess what I found? This does indeed seem to be a women’s problem. I found a lot of articles about how women in general, seem to expect a lot from themselves and when not living up to those pretty unreachable standards, become consumed with guilt. I guess we aren’t very nice to ourselves, huh! In my search I stumbled upon Vickie Champion’s website, that I really recommend you take a look at, and hope that with my extensive linking and name-dropping, she’ll be fine with me quoting some of her very good points.
Amongst many other things, Vickie made a wonderful list of 10 popular things women feel guilty about (I highly recommend it!) and I for one, made a lot of nodding while reading it over. So here is her list of popular things that make us feel guilty:
- Eating forbidden foods
- Being a working mom
- Doing nothing
- Eating chocolate
- Not having a knock-em dead body
- Spending too much money
- Not doing more to take care of her and her husband’s parents
- Spending money on self-growth, hobbies, or self care
- Receiving praise we feel is undeserved
Anyone else but me nodding??? Yup, thought so.
So what is there to do about this? Well, Vickie is not just about making lists about the problems, she has advice too, in this case namely about how to get rid of guilt. The first thing she points out is that “guilt is nothing more than making up a rule or belief we think we need to follow and then breaking it“. As an example of this is the rule: “good parents spend time with their kids”. Although we all know this to be true, sometimes, this rule can be difficult or even impossible to follow. As an example, the workload at work might simply be too much and for a period of time, you might need to spend some extra hours at the office, reducing the time you have with the kids. This often leads to guilty feelings, particularly for women. So what Vickie advices is that you make up a new rule to follow, and in this case it could be: “Good parents love their children”. This fact is no less true than the previous but should have the effect that the guilt releases – at least to some extent. For more advice, please go to Vickie’s webpage.
I have always assumed that there was not much to do about my guilty feelings but maybe there is. Maybe it requires me to rethink the norms that I’ve been setting for myself and seriously acknowledge the fact that it is simply impossible to do everything perfectly. I can of course try my best, but maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself if I don’t manage do live up to the glamorous super mom image that I’ve put on a pedestal. After all, I’m only human. So maybe it’s time to stop feeling so frigging guilty all the time!
Thank you for reading. As always, commenting and sharing is more than welcomed! -Ragga