Human emotions can be a pretty tricky thing to deal with. At one moment, you’re happy about something – you feel lucky, relaxed, and satisfied. You make a decision that benefits you and it feels good. But give it a few minutes and this uncomfortable feeling of guilt starts to creep in. You start to overthink and imagine scenarios about how your decision affects others. You start to imagine all the angry feelings you will be receiving from your peers. And in the end, you don’t feel any other emotion except guilt.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with feeling guilty because it just shows how ethical and moral you can be. But, feeling guilty about things that you should not be feeling guilty about can take a toll on yourself.
You will start to feel conscious about your actions. You won’t feel confident about your decisions or about yourself. You will start to think that everybody is out to get you or is silently harboring ill feelings towards you.
Careful because this can result in losing important people in your life, most especially your own self.
Now the sad thing is, most of us do not know that most of the things we feel guilty about are things that don’t really have that much of a negative effect than we perceive it to be.
Here are 10 examples:
1. Canceling plans
That nauseous feeling after canceling a plan or a night out is what causes sleepless nights for most anxiety-driven person (me included). I admit that for years, I had to drag myself out of the house when I know in myself that I am not in the right state (mentally or physically) to go out and socialize. But I still did it because of the guilt of not showing up.
But once you realize that your wellbeing is what must come first, you will see the importance of taking time for yourself. You do not need to feel guilty because if these are truly important people in your life, they will understand. It’s not like you will not see them forever – it’s just for a short while. You just need to recharge and you’re good to go. It’s perfectly okay to be comfortable with just being alone!
2. Saying “No”
Why would you say “yes” to things or situations that you know will hurt you? Ask yourself this: Is pleasing someone that important that you will neglect yourself? Saying “yes” even if you badly want to say “no” means that you are not listening to your own voice. Saying “yes” even if your body begs you not to will bring you repercussions in the future – fatigue, stress, insomnia, you name it. So no, you should not feel guilty about saying no to things that are not good for you. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself for this in the future.
3. Not going online
Some of us try as much as possible to go online every day for the fear of missing out or the guilt of not catching up with friends or loved ones. However, do take note that people are actually happier once they have quit social media, as documented in The Guardian. Social media can have its own benefits, but the cons of it can highly damage one’s perception of themselves and their self-worth. Take Instagram as an example. Sometimes, scrolling through photos of glamorous lifestyles and model-perfect selfies might have a negative effect on some people. They might second guess their way of living or question themselves if their physical appearance is what society deems as attractive.
However, I do believe that social media is also an instrument for one to stay updated and informed with current news. So, a monthly social media detox (going offline for at least 2 weeks) is highly essential and beneficial for your mental health and happiness.
4. Spending money
Now don’t mistake this as a reason to over-splurge and drain your bank account. What I mean by this is you should not be guilty of spending money once in a while. Treat yourself! It is okay to buy yourself a cute dress after a long week. It is perfectly fine to go out and eat at a fancy restaurant once in a while. Go treat yourself at a spa because I know you know you need that well-deserved relaxation. Think of these as a way to reward yourself for a job well done. It’s your money; you’ve worked hard for it!
5. Being single
Don’t let people make you feel bad about being single. You are never too old enough to find the perfect one. Or heck, so what if you do not find the perfect one? You have yourself and your friends! Maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and the people you love, and you will not need anything else. If you feel tired about explaining yourself and the reasons why you prefer to remain single, then stop. Some people just don’t get it and we need to be fine about not minding what other people think of us.
6. Setting boundaries
Setting boundaries are highly essential for your wellbeing because it serves as a guideline on how you want to be treated. Don’t feel bad if you need personal space. It is okay if you do not feel comfortable being hugged. Don’t feel guilty to inform your loved ones that some of the words or statements they say towards you are hurtful or violates your boundaries. Setting boundaries is also a way to keep healthy and long-lasting relationships by means of genuinely understanding each other.
7. Removing people (and things) from your life
Why would you hold on to toxic things and negative people from your life? If there are people who rub off their negativity on you and does nothing to help your growth (and instead drags you down with them), then don’t ever feel guilty about letting them go and cutting them off from your life. Don’t let anyone bring you down! Only surround yourself with positive, high-vibe people who are enthusiastic about reaching their goals and your goals with you.
8. Feeling good about yourself
Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for feeling good about yourself! No, you are not conceited when you know that you look good today. That just means that you know your worth and you are confident enough to not let snide remarks take you down. Keep walking with your head held high!
9. Asking for help
If you feel like everything’s getting too much or if you are starting to feel overwhelmed with all the tasks and deadlines, then asking for help won’t really hurt anybody. Your body and mind might even thank you for it! You should not feel guilty for asking a helping hand once in a while. If it helps, this act can make your friends or family feel great because they know that you can count on them to help you in times of need.
10. Your mental illness
This should not even be up for discussion but I think that the more widespread information about mental illnesses is, the more people are also downsizing its importance. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad that people in this generation are more aware about the importance of mental health, but we just can’t avoid the fact that there are still people out there who will question you, doubt you, and belittle you for your mental illness. And you should not feel any of that.
Having a mental illness isn’t something you can control nor it is a choice you made so there is absolutely NO reason for you to feel guilty about it. If there are people in your life who thinks otherwise, then it is best to let them go. You are strong and you do not need other people to make you believe otherwise.
Guilt is definitely an emotion that you can’t completely vanish. But as long as you are doing things for yourself that won’t do any harm to other people, then there is nothing you are doing wrong.
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