a tuesday reflection.

I’ve spent the morning reflecting on self care vs. the big “G” word: Guilt. For me the two go hand in hand. On the days when I take a break, set personal boundaries, even go on a run, I usually have this overwhelming sense of guilt – a guilt resulting from the feeling that I’m not fulfilling the need of someone or something else far more important.

Example 1: You may or may not have noticed, but for the first time in 22 weeks there was no Sunday dreaming post on my blog on Sunday. Why? I was quite simply too darn tired to post. And guess what I ended up feeling? Guilty. Yep, I woke up this a.m. feeling absolutely horrible. I had made a commitment to myself and my short list of followers to post on my blog everyday except Saturdays, and for the first time in a long time, I failed. AND instead of being proud of myself for listening to my personal needs and resting, I ended up feeling guilty.

Example 2: After spending the entire month of August pouring my heart, soul and personal energy into my business and the lives of others I felt it imperative to celebrate my husband; the man in my life who often gets little praise or celebration even though he is the backbone of my life. I took him on a whirlwind 30th birthday surprise this weekend to Vegas, while also making a commitment to myself and to Adam, that minus a little instagram play I would avoid my email and social media at all costs. Well, little did I know the biggest cost would be my sanity this week. My inbox is ugly (pressing deadlines, missed party emails, a feeling of being WAYYYY behind), forcing me to run screaming in the other direction and rationalizing another day of vaca. All of this despite a 72 hour period of straight fun was overshadowed by recurring feelings of guilt for not responding to my emails and voicemails while on vacation.

Example 3: On Saturday my husband turned 30. On Saturday I also had a horrific stomach ache – too much fun, too much casino smoke, too many buffet like meals…too much Vegas. Sooooo I ended up leaving the partying early (2 am), heading back to our hotel room to crash and nurse my nagging naseau. Instead of being proud of myself for saying “you know what I’m not feeling well, so I’m gonna leave and allow my hubby to end out the night having fun instead of worrying about me” I left feeling like the worst party pooper of all time AND surprise, surprise! Feeling guilty.

Example 4: My sister is turing 25 tomorrow. She lives in Denver. I live in Seattle. Her birthday card is currently suffocating under the massive pile of papers and miscellaneous things on my desk. Her birthday card and gift will never make it to her by tomorrow. Feeling? You guessed it: Guilt. And LOTS of it.

Example 5: I haven’t worked out in a LOOOONNGG time. Enough said.

Example 6: Dinner should technically be in the works in the next hour or so. Problem? I can’t cook worth a darn and we are out of groceries. Yep…G-U-I-L-T. Guilt that I’m a horrific housewife, and guilt that I didn’t grocery shop today, but instead caught up on work/sleep/Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Example 7: I woke up this morning to a “less than happy” email from our landlord. Our surrounding neighbors are mad because we park in front of their houses even though there is little street parking and no where else to park. I felt angry/frustrated/annoyed this a.m. when I read the email. Now? Feeling guilty that I haven’t been more considerate. Is it really that big a deal to park around the corner and walk a bit to our house? Probably not.

Example 8: I’ve wanted to change up the look/feel of my blog for a really long time. I haven’t recorded business receipts in my darn quick books for more weeks than I’d like to admit. I still have a pile of thank you cards that need to go out to clients, colleagues, friends etc. Laundry? What in the heck is that? My dog needs her teeth brushed…really bad….guilt. guilt. guilt.

Example 9: I have no idea what is really going on in the lives of my 3 closest friends. The worst kind of guilt.

Example 10 – 3,000: Believe me. The list could go on that long.

I’m beginning to REALLY wonder where all this guilt comes from. Was I born with it? Do I purposely allow it to follow me around in my life like a lost puppy begging for a home? Do I secretly enjoy the feeling (god I hope not!)? Is it because I’m a woman? Is it because I’m an oldest child? Is it because my parents are good people who ingrained good morals and values in me? Is it because I’m a perfectionist? A worry-wart? An entrepreneur? An overachiever? Is it because I’m a wife? Or is it because at the heart of it all I’m a nurse? Or is it just a simple characteristic of being an adult?

Why the heck do I feel so darn guilty all the time!? And how the heck do I solve this problem?!?!?

For those of you who read this entire post to the dreadful end…thank you. To those of you who struggle with this feeling as much as I do, I feel your pain. For those of you who have the answer to the big “G” word, WHAT IN THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR? S-H-A-R-E!

In all honesty, I’m beginning to realize that my guilt is distracting me from enjoying life to its fullest. I used to laugh a whole heck of a lot more, taking things a lot less seriously…I got best sense of humor in high school for crying out loud!!! Now my face is overrun by worry lines and constant assessment and scruitinization of every action I make. Good grief….it’s exhausting!!! Who the heck cares if we have pizza 3 nights in a row (Adam enjoys this anyways!). Who the heck cares if I respond to an email in 36 hours vs. my goal of 24? Who the heck really cares if I choose to sleep in vs. run at the crack of dawn? And who the heck really cares if I wash my hair only twice this week? I’ve gotta set myself free from all this guilt all the time.

As with any problem the first step is acknowleding that you have a problem, right? So here I am acknowledging my issue with guilt. Next step?? Your guess is as good as mine.

photo cred: {UUPP}


Filed under Personal, Self Exploration, Self Reflection

5 responses to “a tuesday reflection.

  1. I basically could have written this post, Jenn! I think it’s a dual problem of feeling like we have to create a loving (aka clean and dinner-filled) home as a wife/partner, and as an entrepreneur, we feel like “shouldn’t I be grateful that people are even interested and I should lay it all down for them?”. Either way, unless Adam is complaining, it’s not something that warrants the guilt we’re giving it! A lot of what I’m hearing from your post is not meeting goals or expectations you’re setting for yourself, which may mean that they’re just too high. Not saying (at ALL) that you’re incapable or whatever, but as human beings we can only do so much in a day, in a week, whatever. You deserve your break time for all the hard work you do. I should probably be taking my own advice here… at the end of the day, focus on what you DID accomplish, what you’re proud of, ignore what you didn’t do, and set your top two priorities for the next day. Do those first in the morning. Sending you hugs (and your neighbors sound like dicks. You live there too, dammit!)

  2. Oh Jenn, do I feel your pain! I experience this ‘guilt’ day in and day out myself. Now on top of the normal guilt you speak of, I have ‘mommy guilt’. I’m in the midst of getting my business off the ground and yet feel horribly guilty when I have my MIL watch the kids {2 under the age of 2} for the day so I can get some things accomplished. We hold ourselves to such high standards and it becomes absolutely exhausting. I’m all for pushing myself…I actually function better when I have too much on my plate, but I decided very recently that I wouldn’t do anything I didn’t have peace about. For instance I had a blog previously where I also made a promise to post daily, except for on weekends. This quickly became a chore rather than an enjoyable outlet. And guess what happened to that blog? Exactly. It’s now defunct. With my current blog for my business I actually made the promise to myself that I would only post when I truly had something to say, not just for the sake of posting and this time around I’m enjoying it so much more! It’s all a balance, but finding that balance is soooo hard. And I struggle with the same exact things as you…not going to the gym, not cooking dinner, sometimes not even showering for the day {eww, gross I know} and the list goes on and on. Don’t beat yourself up over this stuff. I’m trying to learn that myself. And yes, I definitely think it’s a woman thing!


  3. Jenn this is so true and I don’t know any one who doesn’t struggle with guilt like this on a daily basis. There is no reason to feel guilty about your guilt. I know there are days I am like how in the hell am I ever going to to get a moment to get upstairs and get chicken out of the freezer led alone make myself lunch. So how do you deal with it I think we have to be honest and ask what is practical. I know that is hard sometimes but kind of similar to what Maggie is saying. I had to learn that I had to set business hours so to speak. I work from 9-6 everyday cook dinner between 6 and 8 and then I allow myself to work more from 8-12. 9-6 in when I do main business and 8-12 is either more of what I need to catch up on or personal things…blog brunch, new blog design, emails, portfolio design, etc. If you can find a way to manage your time in a way that will help you feel more relaxed the guilt will begin to dissipate. I still am 3-4 months behind on my finances…In my mind this is the reality of being a creative. Can I be better? goodness yes but I finally hired an accountant to take care of everything but my expenses because I knew I never would do it. It was one of those things that helped me feel less stressed and more in control of life. I am not sure if you have read REwork but that may help with some of these feelings it is short and easy to read or heck listen to it via ebook while you work. It changed my perspective on work and life when it came to time management. Many hugs lady! I know it can be tough and anyone who says they haven’t been there is probably lying or not working their ass off like you are.

  4. Wow gals. Thank you so much for all of the kind comments and introspective thoughts. It’s incredibly comforting to know we have all been there and are all working towards managing the guilt/stress/personal business’ in our lives. I love knowing that there are other amazing women out there that “get it” and I’m so appreciative of your friendships!!!! Thanks for the love today…it honestly gave me this new burst of energy and hope tonight. XOXOXO!

  5. Jenn: You took the words out of my mouth and I couldn’t have said it better myself..You are such a strong gal with so many balls you are trying to juggle. Every once and awhile you need to stop for some air… 🙂

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