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We hear all the time that shaming is bad. Body shaming yourself or others – shaming anyone for something, really – isn’t exactly encouraged practice. Shame is this intense feeling that you yourself are bad; most of us could probably agree (or should!) that we cannot under any circumstances place that sort of shadow on someone’s beautiful life. But guilt.
Guilt is that momentary shame over a specific action or happening that ends with you feeling bad about yourself and/or your choices. It has become a feeling perpetuated by society. Because it’s socially acceptable (and sometimes, encouraged!) to feel guilty after eating cake or pizza, or for choosing to binge watch Netflix instead of launching a business or changing the world. We’re made to feel guilty for times when we’re not on the “hustle,” and made to feel like the hustlers’ road is the only road that heads for Success City. We’re made to feel guilty when we take a hot second to REST (did you catch last night’s email???) and put our own self-love and self-care over cranking out more work. We’re made to feel guilty about having a strong set of morals or values, or a strong faith.
We’re made to feel guilty.
And we need to give up guilt.
Enter, today’s mantra:
We need to give up guilt, because sometimes, we owe the little things to ourselves. Give up guilt that you bought the shoes or ate a second piece of cake. Give up guilt that you just spent three hours of your night watching The Bachelor + the after special instead of cranking through emails. Give up guilt that you didn’t volunteer to bake three dozen cupcakes for the bake sale or chair the community outreach committee, or that you didn’t help your friend move cross-country.
Give up guilt.
There’s a difference between too much and just enough, but sometimes, that line is just so blurred that you find yourself basing decisions almost entirely on in-the-moment feelings and circumstances. You “don’t feel like” working more, so you turn to Orange is the New Black. You “don’t feel like” doing laundry, so you let your dirty clothes hang out while you paint your nails and bake cookies. And then – you EAT the cookies, too!
But we’ve gotta give up the guilt. Otherwise, we forget how to rest. We forget how to let ourselves go for a moment or enjoy the little things, because we become *afraid* of the little things. We end up letting small joys interfere with our overall peace instead of boost it, because we’ve got this sense of guilt that creeps up all over the place and leaves a nasty scar.
Give up guilt.
Be okay with your humanity.
If you made a mistake – an actual, true mistake – own it, apologize for it, and make amends to it. Then, let go of the guilt, because it just gets heavier if you keep carrying it around with you.
It would be totally silly to say “give up guilt!” and just do whatever the heck we want, whenever, as a result. That wouldn’t be productive, healthy, or sane, really…some could call it straight up foolish. But that’s not the point here. The point is, you’ve got smarts. If you’ve made it this far, you probably know the difference in your gut between right and wrong, or “too much” and “just enough.” We’re not saying live recklessly, folks. We’re saying give up the guilt from those occasional reckless moments. Because when you’re not hurting anyone in those moments, you’re hurting yourself in the aftermath by guilt tripping the good time.
If we’re not careful, repeated guilt can start to feel like shame. And feeling guilty over our rest or small respites from life is the quickest route to unhappiness, discontent, and burn out.
You know the saying “everything in moderation”? If you’re having a second piece of cake every single night for three weeks straight, it might be time to reconsider your choices for the sake of not falling over from artery overload. If you’re online shopping every night and burning through your credit, it might be time to think twice before hitting “buy” for the sake of your credit score
Maintaining moderation and being smart about choices is always going to be a good theory to go through life. BUT. This should never ever (ever) come at the expense of how you feel about yourself.
You’re going to have the urge to break Whole 30 or whatever other “diet” or eating regimen you’re following, and sometimes, you might succumb to that urge and grab a chocolate chip cookie. If you turn to then hating and shaming yourself and feeling guilty all day for having the cookie, you’re setting yourself and your mindset up for one heckuvah no-fun ride. If you decide to splurge on something – anything – just do the damn thing and enjoy every second.
Do it, savor it, soak it all up, and then decide your next step from there.
Because life’s too short. Give up guilt.
What can you give up guilt over right here, right now?
Let’s vow together to give up guilt this week and take the time to thoroughly enjoy any little indulgence that comes our way. Make time to rest, relax, and recover. Happy Monday.