Definition of Guilt;
‘a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person’
Seriously, I wanted to blog about guilt today. It is the one emotion which has been driving me nuts over the past few days. I want to share with you my reasons why being in the grip of guilt is a not a good place to be, or stay.
It’s the school holidays in my world at the moment. I am juggling my business, my boys and my home. I have had unexpected events happen which have left me without childcare and it has all left me pretty exhausted with trying to get it all done. But, why do I have to get it all done, and in whose world does everything have to be perfect?
I was having a chat with one of my clients yesterday at the end of her session and we were talking about being ‘busy people’. That we manage it all reasonably well with the juggling, but then one more thing happens and that is what tips the balance, leading to us tearing our hair out and reaching for that glass of wine at the end of the day to ‘unwind’.
But I have a question.
Who is judging us?
Who is judging whether we get things right during the day, whether we have managed every situation ‘right’ and done what we needed to do in the right way?
When I took a deep breath and did my first Facebook live video last week, the camera wobbled, I was having a bad hair day and I totally waffled for the first minute or so before I got into my stride. I had no time to think about that, I just wanted to have a chat with my audience, talk about what I was passionate about.
I went for 7 out of 10.
And it was enough.
Going back to the definition above, guilt is a ‘feeling’ of unhappiness or worry, not a concrete response, judgement or grading. We can be governed by our feelings of guilt, not spending enough time with the people we love, not doing a good enough job on a presentation at work, not phoning our mum back when she called 2 days ago but it is only us that is letting ourselves be governed by it.
The problem is that this guilt doesn’t make getting things done any easier, it just leaves us feeling rubbish about ourselves and rather than celebrating what we have managed to achieve, we sit there chain drinking tea and bemoaning how rubbish we are for dropping one of the balls we are juggling.
We are pretty harsh on ourselves, right?
So, I hear you ask, what can be done?
First question I want you to ask yourself. Does everything need to be done today, in this moment, when you have decided it needs to happen?
You set your timescale, you have ultimate control over what does and does not need to be done. In creating a sense of urgency in your own mind, ruled by this guilt you are putting un-necessary pressure on yourself. Yes you might have deadlines at work, there might be other commitments in your diary which include entertaining the children but rather than going into panic mode (where you get nothing done) highlight for yourself the 3 most important tasks you need to do today and focus on those.
I know for a fact, and from experience, that multi-tasking gets you nowhere, is totally unproductive and leads you to feel like more of a failure than you already do.
Then, celebrate when one of those tasks are complete. And by celebrate I don’t mean a bottle of fizz, that could lead to a whole new world of being unproductive. A cuppa, a read of a few pages of your favourite book, a walk out in the sunshine (or the rain).
The world is not going to end if you focus on yourself for 15 minutes to acknowledge that you have managed one of the three things you wanted to achieve today and it will lead to you feeling a whole lot better..
I have been walking my walk while talking to you. Writing this blog was one of my MITs (most important tasks) and when I have finished I am going to stop, have a break and enjoy the sense of satisfaction I feel when I have written about something I care about whilst having the children on school hols, woohoo!!!
Second, if you don’t get everything done, hear me, it’s okay. There is no need to fall to the depths of despair. If you are not feeling it, switch to another task on your priority list or, shock horror, stop, and let yourself have that much needed break.
If we go to bed feeling totally wrapped up in and overwhelmed by everything we haven’t got done in the day it does impact on our sleep as we go to bed in a negative emotional state, feeling rubbish about ourselves and leads us to being less productive the following day, and the day after.
Your thoughts, and feelings only affect you, your sense of self and your feelings of being good enough. If you let guilt rule your life happiness will be hard to come by, and decisions that you want to make will become harder to reach. You choose how you feel moment by moment, and in changing the thoughts you choose to think, you will feel better.
Love Clare x