We often associate guilt as something that is negative. It feels like we have done something wrong and should be apologetic about it. It’s that cold feeling that makes your stomach drop. It’s the nagging feeling that keeps you up in the middle of the night. But guilt is more than just that. It shows that we stand for certain morals and that we actually think and care about the people around us. Most of the time, the guilt we feel is inherent and self-created. Yet there are things that we should not feel guilty about.
Have you ever found it hard to say no to a pushy salesperson? What about succumbing to peer pressure and doing things that you rather not or can’t do? I’m sure most of us have encountered a situation like this! We can’t deny that we are all people pleasers that wish to fit in deep down. But saying no or disagreeing does not always mean that you are being difficult. Everyone has different ideas, opinions and boundaries. That’s what makes each of us unique! So don’t feel obligated to always agree to what others say or do. If you feel that someone is crossing your boundaries, speak up. If you’d rather not do a favour, don’t be afraid to turn it down.
Putting Yourself First
I can’t emphasize this enough. From young, we’ve always been taught to put others first. To take their feelings into consideration, to care about what others think. But it’s your life! It’s not selfish to put yourself and your goals first (if you don’t fight for what you want, who will?). Those who truly care will respect and support your decisions. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to take care and think about others, but remember to take care and think for yourself too.
Not Being Productive
Some days you just feel like lying in bed and doing nothing except to watch Netflix. Yet we feel guilty about it. The urge to be ‘doing something’ is strong and we feel restless and lazy. But ‘doing nothing’ is still doing something! You are giving yourself a break and allowing your mind and body to rest and rejuvenate. We are not always productive all the time. And that’s okay, we all have those days. Don’t beat yourself over it. Take a break you need and come back stronger.
Having Me Time
Feeling guilty for staying at home on a Friday night? Forcing yourself to go for gatherings even though you would rather be reading a book or working on your hobbies? There are times when we just need to switch off and focus on ourselves. Go on a social media or technology detox if you need to. Invest your time in hobbies and things that matter to you. The best thing you can do for yourself is putting your mental and physical well being first.
Remember the times in class where you were afraid of asking questions because you didn’t want to look stupid? Most of us still have the habit of not asking questions even till now. Yet why are we feeling guilty? The thing is – None of us are walking dictionaries. There will definitely be things that we know or don’t know. What matters more is being aware of what you don’t know and finding out the answer. If you are unsure, don’t assume. Ask to clarify. Perhaps everyone is just waiting for that one person to ask the million-dollar question.
The next time you catch yourself feeling guilty, stop and ask yourself these questions – “Are there any negative repercussions to my actions?” “Am I hurting anyone with my actions?” If the answer is no, do it without feeling guilty!