“Guilt is a wasted emotion. It keeps you out of the moment where you are” – Kyra Sedgewick
So, when was the last time you felt guilty? Guilty of not doing the work you should have done, of not working a bit harder, or, althernatively of taking a break? I hear you! Actually, today’s quote is a reminder that sometimes we have to move past guilt and focus on the present moment.
Guilt for A Particular Action
So, do you feel guilty for doing something? Are you letting it ruin your week? I completely understand the feeling of an emotion overtaking your week and stopping you in your tracks. For some, this emotion is guilt.
In fact, after doing some reading, I’ve learned psychologists tend to categorize guilt into 5 types – the last of which was a surprise for me, actually! In fact, in addition to guilt for something you did, something you didn’t do, for harming someone else, or not helping someone else is guilt for doing better than someone else.
Actually, they call this survivor’s guilt. While I used to think this term only applied to victims of accidents who survived when others didn’t, it’s also used as a term to refer to guilt experienced by those who make a better life for themselves than their peers.
If that’s you, remember that you deserve all of the success you’ve worked hard for. Feel confident in your success and remember that people make their own choices and are responsible for the consequences.
Guilt From Taking A Break
Now, this is definitely the guilt that I suffer from. You know that feeling of not working and realizing that maybe you should be? This happens all the time with my PhD project, as (sometimes) it seems like a dark cloud that’s been hanging over me for the past three years. It’s that feeling of always being at work, even when you should be taking a break.
Now, how the heck can you stop that? Well, I’m not 100% certain on this one, but perhaps the tips below can help.
3 Ways To Combat Guilt
So, since I’m not an expert on this topic (and frequently feel guilty for taking a break myself), I did a little bit of reading for all of you this week. What do experts say we should do when we feel guilty? Well, after reading quite a few websites on the topic, here are my favourite points they make:
1. Verify if you’ve done something wrong through the “role reversal” technique
Think about what would happen if you put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Would you feel what you believe they are feeling? Or, is it possible that you are overreacting about how someone else would repond in the same situation? (Guy Winch, Psychology Today)
2. Realize that your guilt “alarm” may be incorrect
Sometimes, our brain convinces us that other people will feel a certain way, when maybe they aren’t feeling that way at all. Remember not to assume! (Guy Winch, Psychology Today) .
3. Take responsibility for your actions, and talk honesty about them
So, while Diane Lane’s list for overcoming guilt – is huge, the main points I liked best were these ones. Actually, she also suggests making a list of people you’ve hurt (including yourself) and writing yourself a letter of forgiveness. (Diane Lancer, Therapist)
Now, to apply this to feeling guilty about taking a break, I think point #2 stands out the most. Perhaps we need to allow ourselves to take a break (from lesson planning, studying, working, or whatever it is you do). Rather than feeling guilty, we could make a plan to approach our project after our break, and do our best to enjoy the moment we’re in.
So, you can probably tell from the size and frequency of my posts the last couple weeks that I’m in “vacation mode”, right? Are you in vacation mode, or has your school or job already started after the summer holidays? I know some school districts are starting school today!
What tricks do you have to keep yourself from feeling guilty about taking a break? Or, to get yourself working again when the break may have been a bit too long? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photography fans, the photo in today’s post (and poster!) is one I took in Switzerland in the winter of 2016.
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