I’m tough on myself and I hate to let others down. Guilt is a common emotion for me – truly probably a daily occurrence. You see, it’s impossible to make everyone happy in a world with so many competing priorities. Just like an overstuffed sandwich, some wonderful initially desired ingredient is going to slip out and get left behind on the plate or the wrapper. We can just fit only so much into our mouths or into our day.
For me, guilt flashes into my head, slithers down the back of my throat and wedges itself in my chest where it pressure cooks for a few minutes. Sometimes it gets the best of me and I steam out a few tears but lately I’m practicing a lot of self-talk and can get that pesky guilt emotion to dwindle and sometimes even completely dissipate. Deep down I do know that I’m doing enough – more than enough…probably too much!
This unwanted guilt that regularly attempts to eat away at me is counterproductive and corrosive. Lately, I think my guilt arises out of the battle of what ideal me wants to do and actual me feels obligated to do. My ideal me image is currently being brought up to current times. The ideal mom, daughter, employee, wife and such images from generations ago are no longer relevant today. In a stretched too thin world, something has to give. I’m learning what’s non-negotiable. My personal health is a priority. If I’m not at my optimal physical and mental health and regularly feeding my spirit, I’ll be depleted and certainly have no energy to care for others. I’ve witnessed firsthand how neglecting personal health impacts an entire family and I must choose differently. After my personal health, the top item on my list is my immediate family – my husband of almost 19 years and my two young teenage children who still need my guidance.
The rest of the stuff such as my career, my other local family obligations, and my friendships are no doubt important but not everything can be on the top tier. In order to accommodate this, I have tried to manage expectations and set boundaries. When I’m at work, I work hard but when I’m outside of the office I have to unplug as much as possible. As far as my mom and brother who need my care, it’s not all up to just me. I have local brothers that are capable of assisting and my mom’s facility is equipped with many resources to help care for her on a daily basis. I also have out of town family that is willing to assist. My developmentally disabled adult brother and my mom are also capable of doing more for themselves. As far as my friends, I know they understand my situation and are there for me when I need them and vice versa.
When each day is done, I am done. When I reflect on my day I know I have maximized every moment. No regrets. No guilt.