If we focus on ourselves and our own needs, putting ourselves first, we feel guilty and think we might be perceived as selfish. If we are a bit impatient and cranky because we are exhausted we feel guilty for snapping at whoever is the unfortunate one that ‘gets in the way’ yet we feel equally as guilty if we sit to rest instead of doing the dishes. If we fall ill, we feel guilty because we should be looking after ourselves better. I go to Zumba on Monday night and the instructor asks “How was your weekend?” In a South American accent, “who is feeling guilty? Eating cake?”
So what is it with guilt and what are we supposed to do?
Definition of Guilt
- The Oxford dictionary says guilt is ‘a feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation’.
- Wikipedia says ‘guilt is an emotion that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard.’
So what obligation have we failed in or what moral standard has been violated? According to whom?
Women in particular, seem to be brought up to believe that it is their duty and one of their primary functions to care for their partner’s, their children’s and sometimes others needs. I think it is important to do this and it is equally as important for men to do the same.
Unfortunately, the way many women interpret this, comes at a cost of not fulfilling our own needs and wants. When we do try to fulfil our own needs we feel guilty because we should be doing something for the partner or the children.
To me, it comes down to values, that is, what is important to us. We can always find time to do something, if it is important enough. So essentially, we believe we are not as important as our partner, our children, our boss or whoever it is.
We need to find the balance.
How many women do you know, or just have contact with, that seem to be running around looking out for everyone else and running themselves into the ground? I know I have been in that place and still have to be aware of what I take on and how I go about things.
At different times of our lives we have different needs and different priorities. It is a journey. Our values and beliefs shift. It is a continual learning curve and growth experience.
There is one thing, however, that needs to remain a constant. That is, to make yourself Priority #1!
If WE don’t look after ourselves, who really will? Who else actually knows what it is that we need or want? We often can’t even be totally honest with ourselves to speak up for what it is we want. So, if we can’t ask for it, how are we supposed to receive it?
By connecting with other women and sharing experiences we realise we are not alone. Sharing stories and wisdom, is one way to learn new tips and strategies to lead a more contented lifestyle.