Growing up, one of the main things that took up my brain space was guilt. Guilt in not being a good enough daughter, student, believer, friend, etc. I constantly felt like I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t meet (insert person/idea here)’s expectations of me. I spent most of my childhood, high school, and college trying to please everyone that I graduated not knowing anything about myself. That empty feeling gave me a weird out of body experience. I felt like I was going through the motions of life because it’s what society wants – but I had no passion.
By reading constantly and taking the time to ask myself what I want out of life, I managed to figure out the top three key items in helping me get rid of unwarranted guilt. The fact is, you are living your life for you. No one else can live it for you. Why waste precious brain space on guilt when you can use it to create the kind of life you want for yourself?
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. There are so many things at play outside of the beautiful life you see on social media. I do not blame those people for putting their best foot forward because no one wants to air dirty laundry in public – most people don’t, at least. For example, someone can show their talent in keeping a catalog worthy home, while you are a slob trying not to drown in tasks. What you might not realize is that they work part time, hired a maid so they don’t have to live in clutter, or spend their extra time cleaning because of their own OCD. In the meantime, you are working full time, cook all your meals, and exercise 5 days a week. If the circumstances aren’t even, how can we compare them?
Say No. Many people think that saying yes is the only way to please the other person. This is correct when you are excited and fully commit to your word. What would please others is for you to say no when you don’t really want to do it and leave them enough time to get a backup person. There is nothing worse for your friend (and for you) than you showing up to go through the motions but secretly miserable. We all think we can put up a good front, but misery is very easy to spot.
Do Not Plan Your Life according to Someone Else’s Rules. Not even your parents. Actually – especially your parents. While your parents mean well, they lived through a different timeline. They grew up in a time when getting married is almost a necessity because it is almost unheard of to see an independent woman. They grew up where they are basically taught their worth is to raise children and keep a beautiful home. Obviously, you are in the most progressive timeline yet. You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to. You don’t have to have children if you don’t want to. You can create your own life.
As stated in my title, these steps are simple – but I find that the simplest lessons are the toughest to digest. Oftentimes you think, “Oh, that’s so easy. I can do that later,” and never actually get around to doing it. I’m here to tell you that it’s time. It’s time to sit down and think about each step at length and let go of that clinging guilt.
Take a deep breath and inhale positive thoughts. Exhale everything else out.