“Guilt is not a very good motivator.” ~ Psychology Today
You and I have been friends for as long as I’ve known Procrastination, Drinking, and Television. Guilt, we’ve become too close.
I’ve taken for granted that you’ll always be a part of me—not because that’s what I want, but because you’ve been by my side, dancing in my head, and draped around my neck for decades.
Your theory is if I’d take action, you’d leave me alone. You taunt me trying to make me act or not act a certain way.
If you inspired change, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’d be busy doing all the right things in the ideal time.
Instead, you’re like a sinus infection I can’t shake. You clog my head and slow me down.
Guilt, I don’t want to deny you your purpose. Some say you’re a wasted emotion. That’s not totally true.
As a child, when I had the habit of stealing, you and Shame showed up and helped me quit. Thank you for that.
When I ate my feelings more than speaking to my ex-husband, you guided me back to my truth.
When I worked retail and called in sick, but the only thing I was sick from was working retail, you sat with me and we had that heart to heart. You gave me insight about doing wrong and still not feeling you, Guilt—because I was striving for something more right. Thank you for the lesson.
So yes, I’ve done things and there were times your presence provided a wake-up call.
However, you’re not my true companion. I don’t need you in my life as an umbrella over everything thought, action, or nonaction.
Stop embedding yourself into my every move, from how I manage my time, to what I eat, to the gifts and opportunities I’ve been given.
Your intention is to help. But, remember when I was readying to tell my ex-husband I was leaving him and then I needed to pack all my belongings from our house? Guilt, you showed up in full force.
You were with me first thing in the morning and throughout the days. You even crawled in bed with me, pointing out everything I hadn’t yet done. You brought Shame and Judgment into my home, the one I was losing, as if I wasn’t challenged enough.
Here’s what you didn’t do: help. You didn’t help me feel better, speak clearer, or pack one damn box.
It was my readying time. I needed to gather myself, talk to God, and get grounded. But, you should all over me every day for months.
Not helpful! I may procrastinate (gather my forces), but I accomplish what needs to be done in my own time.
Deadlines help. Your constant yammering takes me farther from myself and the life I choose to live.
So, here’s the deal, Guilt. You’re welcome to visit on rare occasions, only when called for and only when I’ve actually done something worthy of your presence.
Otherwise, let’s take a break, okay?
I know you’ll be checking up on me from the sidelines. You’re like my spotter—making sure I don’t sleep with people incompatible to my soul or speak words to puff up my ego at another’s expense.
However, for the most part Guilt, I’m good. I’ve got this. You can go.
You’re welcome to visit if I collude with Russians, sleep with subordinates, or kick my dog.
But for the days I don’t do yoga, post on my blog, or get my home perfectly organized—for these types of parties, you’re no longer invited. In fact, you’re banned.
I know you want to be helpful, Guilt. So, go help somebody else (maybe a politician).
From now on, I’m hanging with Peace. We’re becoming quite close.
So, see you around, Guilt. Best wishes. May you be of benefit elsewhere.