Not guilty?

Gavel, guilty
*click for image source

I have a predisposition to feel responsible in almost every situation. Β I don’t know if it is a “female thing” or a “Mom thing” or just an annoying personality trait that tends to run in my family, but sometimes I feel like I am constantly repeating “woulda, coulda, shoulda” to myself over and over and

When I review past events in my mind I always think that I could have done things differently or should have accomplished more. At home I never seem to finish all of the chores that I intend to. At work I sometimes jump from project to project, not completing anything. I feel like I should be a better Mom, a better wife, or a better friend. I do this to myself. Nobody out there is condemning or chastising me for the things I have done or not done. This guilt is completely self-induced.

Often these things that I feel guilty about wake me from a sound sleep causing the kind of middle-of-the-night worry that is magnified ten-fold. I tend to second-guess my own decisions and punish myself for my real or imagined misdeeds, so much so that any kind of consequence doled out by another source could never compare in severity. I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Why is it that so many women that I know suffer from this compulsion to be so critical of ourselves?

This week I had to make a couple of decisions that caused me to feel more guilty than usual. One involved a family member and another involved a friend. In both cases I felt like I let them down, even though the decisions that I made were reasonable and necessary. This guilt has worn on me all week and this weekend I am feeling tired and unfocused.

As a result, I made a conscious decision today to just go with the flow. This morning I surfed the internet, did a little yoga and Skyped with Fee and her parents. This afternoon I may have a cup of tea and even a nap. I refuse to feel guilty for not doing anything.

You know what? The house will still be dirty tomorrow, the groceries will somehow be purchased, the work that I should be doing will still be there for me to finish.

Some days you just have to be gentle with yourself.

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11 thoughts on “Not guilty?

  1. Somedays you absolutely DO just have to be gentle with yourself. I wonder why we find that so difficult? I hope that you enjoyed both your tea and your nap.

  2. Cheri; I do the woulda, shoulda, coulda, thig all the time. even still when I got divorced I play in my mind that same thing. it has taken many years ( I have been divorced since 1992) to figure out things in my mind, knowing I did what was best for my children. So, my advice is to put it to rest. I say I have put mine in a shoe box and put it on the top shelf of my closet. So, don’t let it eat at you. You’re not alone.

  3. Amen! I used to feel like I always should be more …. more organized, more willing to jump into housework, more everything…. In my midlife years I’ve come to believe I’m exactly as I need to be. LIke Roseanne used to say, excuse the mess here, but we live here. Nobody lives in a perfect house – if they do they’re hiding something! And that old expression nothing taste as good as skinny feels….bullshit!

  4. Rarely do I allow myself to feel guilty. I do what I can about something and then move on. Life is too short to mull things over and over.
    The following by Ralph Waldo Emerson has been my motto for years:
    β€œFinish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

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