Friday, April 8, 2016

Doing Things Out of Guilt is Not an Effective Life Management Tool

This world is not always kind to those who look around and see other people as people: individuals who see the humanity behind each set of eyes, who realize that there are emotions, needs, and desires lurking there. This world all too often rewards detachment and callousness. When you don't care how your actions affect others, this world is a much easier place to navigate.

When you see others for the people they are, it can be difficult to stand up for yourself and to do the things you need for fulfillment. Those of us who are empaths or highly empathetic can often feel responsible for things that wouldn't register for others. You can see that every action has a consequence. You see that taking a sick day means someone else has to drop what they are doing and cover for you. You see how running late means everyone else is now running late too. How can you not feel guilty about this? How selfish you are for making everyone change their life for you.

I am not saying you should never feel guilty. That is an appropriate emotion for appropriate situations. Lord knows I have done enough over the years to feel justifiably guilty. When that happens, I do my best to acknowledge my behavior, apologize if necessary and move on.

But when you start feeling guilty about doing sticking up for yourself and doing what is best for you, that's when the problem starts. It can keep you from doing anything. You end up constantly backing down and letting go of the things that will fulfill your needs, all from fear of putting the other individual out.

It's all about perception. And what we perceive isn't always what is.

In so many cases, our perceived guilt is a case of projection. When you project your feelings and emotions on to another and then make decisions that go against your needs based on those projected feelings... well. That sounds pretty fucked up, doesn't it?

You are holding yourself in place. Why? Well, lots of reasons. Maybe you've been trained since childhood that your needs are secondary or don't matter at all. Maybe that Big Thing you've always wanted is finally happening and you're terrified you'll screw it up. Maybe what you know - no matter how much you hate it or how badly it drains you - is better than the unknown. Maybe you've gotten so used to being cast as the victim that it is inconceivable that you are now doing it to yourself.

Whatever the reason, if the guilt is holding you back from being your own authentic self, then it's time to tell the guilt to fuck the fuck off. You deserve to be happy, you deserve to have your wildest dreams come true, and you deserve to move forward in your life in peace and contentment.

In the end, the only person who can make sure all your needs are met is you. Compassion is key, and compassion for yourself is every bit as important as compassion for others. When you recognize other's humanity even in the face of being true to you, good things will happen.

Yes, it is scary as fuck to stick up for yourself, and no, not everyone's reaction is going to contain the same amount of compassion you are trying to put out into the world. But other's reactions are about them, not you. When you are making choices from a place of compassion, honesty, and peace, they are always the right choices.

So, the next time you feel guilty about putting in for time off or saying no to a request, ask yourself this: where is this guilt coming from? Why am I feeling it? Would a decision based on this guilt serve my higher good, or is going to subjugate my needs because I fear making someone else's life more difficult? If so, will that person's life actually be more difficult? No, really. Will it? Are you that important a part of that person's life?

Then put in for that time off, have yourself a whopper of a margarita and rejoice in the fact that you need not feel the least bit guilty about it.


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