Today’s blog explores the nature of guilt, how to recognize guilt at play and tools for vanquishing the guilt demons! ARGH!
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Daughters
Back from my blogging sabbatical so that I could help with the needs of my parents after my dad’s kidney transplant. YEAH RIGHT! As the universe would have it, instead of going to Minneapolis as planned, I got sidelined by my dad’s (yes, you read that correctly) annual upper respiratory, sinus, allergy, cough, sickness. Apparently my Spirit and my dad’s Spirit made an arrangement whereby I would take on his usual sickness so that he could be healthy for his kidney transplant (well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.). So, instead of going to Minneapolis, I was told to stay home, and then I had to face SEVEN whole days with NO PLANS, no obligations, no projects, NO KIDS! For a “J” on the Myers-Briggs SEVEN days with no plans is a sentence akin to an eternity in hell. ARGH!!!!!! If my head had been screwed on straight, I would have welcomed these seven days as an opportunity to retreat, reflect, write and play. And I tried, I really tried to make these past seven days just that……and all would have gone just fine if it hadn’t been for those DARN guilt demons! ARGH!!!!
Enter Sandman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hUniy3kZYQ&feature=related (click link for a little mood music! :))
So, I’m trying to move through my seven day universe-imposed retreat, hoping to rest, reflect, play, create, write, and simply be. And just as I thought I was getting into the swing of NO PLANS, NO KIDS…..enter SANDMAN…….aka The Demons of Guilt. It would have been ok if it had only been one demon…you know, the one that says, “You really should be doing something productive.” Instead….it was guilt in LEGIONS! Like a swarm of apocalyptic locusts, they fell upon me in legions whispering and taunting in my ears:
- You are a bad mom for taking seven days away from your kids
- Your a worse daughter for getting sick and missing your dad’s surgery and for not being there to help your mom!!!!!
- You are lazy for doing nothing
- Your business won’t grow and you won’t make any money if you don’t do something toward that effort
- What good is it to take time to journal, pen poetry, write short stories…..that won’t make you any money
- Skipping yoga again????? Your yoga teacher will be angry or disappointed in you
- You know you will go to hell for skipping mass on Thursday, or worse for sleeping through meditation
- You slept until 9:30? Shame shame shame
- You should be cleaning your house, doing chores, getting caught up on household projects
- The leaves aren’t going to rake themselves
- How are you going to pay for Christmas if you take a week off of work?
Got the picture?????
Guilt and its Evil Disguises
But here is the worse part……I didn’t even know I was being beseiged by guilt. What I felt instead was restlessness, impatience, irritation, frustration, maybe a little boredom and loneliness. And mixed in with these feelings the sensation that there was something or someone out there causing me these feelings…..I wanted like heck to point my accusatory finger at that “person” or “thing” that was causing this disturbance of the normal peaceful contentment I strive to know in my day to day life and either exact punishment or extract that “thing” that was causing so much irritation. It wasn’t until this afternoon that I recognized what I had been battling was guilt…..and I found out in the strangest of ways. I won’t go into the gory details, but the words that showed up alerting me to guilt’s malicious attack were these:
- You are a bad mom because your whole entire life does not revolve around your children’s interests.
ARRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH There it is, that dang SHOULD voice…..the outside perceived authority that tries to tell us that our needs are of no value and that it is our job to make everyone else happy before even thinking of what we might need for ourselves. YIKES!
Guilt’s Evil Intent
There it was. Guilt in all its glory…..AGAIN….trying to keep me from the path of my highest good. For in truth….this is guilt’s ONE and ONLY purpose. As I tell my clients, guilt serves absolutely NO redeeming purpose. Guilt is the litany of “shoulds” from a controlling and power-driven outside perceived authority (or worse yet, our own inner critic) that wants to keep us from knowing our truest self which is loving, joyful and content. Guilt keeps us from naming and claiming our own needs and does so by trying to tell us it is our job to make other people happy. So, now I stand in defiance, thumbing my nose at guilt, proclaiming my own needs:
- to get well
- to take care of myself when I’m sick
- to take time out to simply be
- to play
- to play
- to play (As a recovering perfectionist, I needs LOTS of reminders to play)
- to allow someone to take care of my needs for a change
- to enjoy the company of friends
- to read, reflect, write, create
Now, I encourage you to do the same!!!!
How does guilt show up in your own life?
Where are you tempted to forgo tending to your own needs?
How does guilt disguise itself in your life?
Authentic Freedom Ministries