Guilt and Wisdom

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I have many 😛 I do think that the advantage to the pandemic and lock down rules and regulations in various countries is that it has actually made us more appreciative of so many of the things that we have unintentionally been taking for granted.

Life-is-short-eat-the-cake-800x550

Photo credit : lifestylemaven.co.uk

It is ALWAYS a good idea for us to work on developing healthier eating habits and lifestyles. At the end of the day, we actually all have a reason to want to extend our lifespans, even if sometimes we feel blurry about it.

As with everything else in life, your food habits are choices that you make, and for the large part is something you can control. Financially, I can’t afford to eat the way I feel I should be…. but here’s the thing : it’s actually really that I can’t afford to eat the options I would prefer – I am not a big fan of vegetables, unless I can add in the extras to make them taste better 😛 But I digress….

You probably all know by now, especially if you have read my gravatar profile, that one of my guilty pleasures is cheesecake. 😉 I have been very conscious of my eating habits in the past six months, and find that (much to my amazement) I am making the better choices more easily. (I even ate spinach without cheese sauce yesterday 😛 )
Shortly before lock down, my food diary caused me distress each and every time I strayed. I was so disappointed in myself for eating that small bag of chips, or eating that bar of chocolate.

The pandemic has changed my way of thinking when it comes to that. It reminded me that life IS short, and I need to eat the cake. Not excessively, of course. But that I need to be a little kinder to myself in that regard. I am not a huge food failure just because I ate a cupcake on my daughters birthday. I’ve realised that those small treats every now and then need not make me feel so darn guilty. Although the term for them is still ‘guilty pleasures’, I need to start seeing them more as the pleasures that they are – yet another small sweet reward in the journey of life.

It’s a silly example, the one above…

But isn’t it strange the things we allow ourselves to carry excessive guilt for? 

My post today was actually sparked by this : I found myself feeling guilty about something this morning, and as I sat here dissecting it in my brain, sipping on my second cup of coffee, I realised that it is also a ‘silly’ guilt to carry.

Yesterday, I sent a lengthy email to a friend of mine, in response to some questions they had asked. (I always seem to reply at length, and often wonder if my friend ever regrets asking me anything 😛 Being brief with people I care about has never been a strong suit of mine 😛 They have to have the full outpouring of me! Ha ha ha!)
And yes, while I always feel guilty about the length of my emailed responses, it wasn’t the source of this mornings guilt.

This morning I was thinking about some ideas I had shared with my friend, and the strengths I felt I had in relation to those ideas. I spoke of being confident in certain areas that would make me ‘someone of substance’ to fulfill the ideas I had. I spoke of ‘knowing’ that there are many who I come into contact with who are positively affected by me, and actually seek me out.
And I found myself feeling guilty about that :O
I actually went back to my sent items, and reread that part of what I wrote.
Probably because my old self, and my old belief system – all the taught things that needed changing – were screaming at me that any form of saying anything positive about myself to someone else is being boastful and proud.
Exposure to the many people who had influence in my life for so long, who were filled with self-importance, had the effect on me that I became too afraid to even voice anything good about me out loud.

There was even a time where I would not dare to acknowledge that I even had strengths! 

Guilt can be a good thing. When it is in response to something ‘valid’. We typically experience it after doing something wrong, intentionally or accidentally, and in most cases your guilt is measured in relation to your own personal moral code. Guilt can help us to grow and mature. It’s actually rather productive in some cases, because if we see it for what it is, and are prepared to work towards righting the wrong, or seeing the wrong in us, then we are able to make the decisions to learn from the errors and apologise, or make the changes necessary to elicit a different response in future situations that are similar.

I found 5 really great tips to help with dealing with ‘guilt’. And I am going to share number 5 with you here, because I truly feel it is the most important one of all – to me, anyway.

5. Recognize that no one is perfect.

Not even our friends or family members who appear to lead perfect, guilt-free lives. Striving for perfection in any part of our lives is a recipe for failure, since it can never be attained.

We all make mistakes and many of us go down a path in our lives that can make us feel guilty later on, when we finally realize our mistake. The key, however, is to realize the mistake and accept that you’re only human. Don’t engage in days, weeks or months of self-blame — battering your self-esteem because you should’ve known, should’ve acted differently, or should’ve been an ideal person. You’re not, and neither am I. That’s just life.

Guilt is one of those emotions that we feel is telling us something important. Be aware that not every emotion, and certainly not every guilty feeling, is a rational one that has a purpose. Focus on the guilt that causes loved ones or friends harm. And remember to be skeptical the next time you feel guilty – is it trying to teach you something rational and helpful about your behavior, or is it just an emotional, irrational response to a situation? The answer to that question will be your first step to helping you better cope with guilt in the future.

To read the full article, please go here.

And in closing, I want to share the conclusion I came to regarding the guilt I was feeling and processing on coffee number two 😉

While I need to never lose the awareness, and continue working, at not being boastful or proud….
While I need to have the courage to acknowledge my weaknesses and work on them in order to experience growth in those areas too….
I also need to stop feeling so guilty and ashamed when I voice the strengths within me.
A healthy balance is always good : with food…. and with the things that we carry guilt for.

It’s a difficult one… one we probably all struggle with.

So above all, for me personally? My key word in all of this?
Wisdom.
In all things.

But for today? Mostly in this! 😉

 

19 thoughts on “Guilt and Wisdom

  1. Something past few months have taught me is how important every moment is. Even though I always preach healthy eating, I myself has been indulging quite a bit since past few months and I guess I have realized sooner that guilt is just waste of an emotion. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Smiles. The email part got me grinning. I don’t do a short message myself. Unless I am tired.
    Wisdom is important. I Love your emphasis on that. Guilt-tripping one’s self every time might cause one to short change the experience of now that is a blessing too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s having integrity and a moral code where guilt serves to tell us we have transgressed our own boundaries and there’s letting others wire us for guilt. Sometimes there are those who will just put us down over and over, even when there is no reason to do so, and if we accept it, then, when they are gone the guilt reaction remains. That needs recognising and addressing, sometimes over and over until you are rewired. Until you can react with a smile instead of a cringe. There’s always room for more positive self talk and being with those who affirm you.
    “Guilt, regret…and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” Elkhart Tolle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Wic! You are so right!
      And yes, there is ALWAYS room for ‘the more’ that pushes us in the right direction and inspires us to change, grow and become.
      I will continue on with my rewiring in this area 😉

      Like

  4. Hi Meg,

    I truly believe that some people can see the good in others and seek them out because they know that they can help in many different ways.
    I certainly believe that it is not boastful or prideful to acknowledge your strengths to others unless of course you are a perfectionist like myself.
    Guilt is a really difficult one because we can feel guilty about so many different things and all to often it is to late to change them.
    Guilt can also be something that others may feel that you should feel although it may be something that you may personally not recognise.
    I think that it is about our level of understanding and our knowledge of self.
    I am not surprised that people are drawn to you because you genuinely care about others and their needs.
    Stay safe and take care of yourself and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

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