I feel guilt every damn day of my life.
Maybe you do, too.
I don’t know if most people feel this way, but I know it’s very common amongst people dealing with mental illness.
Guilt is a valid, important, sometimes painful thing that is just a part of life, but here’s the catch: there are really so few things in life that justify anyone feeling truly, deeply guilty.
I feel guilty every day.
I feel guilty over forgetting things. I feel guilty when I perceive that I do something wrong. I feel guilty when I upset someone. I feel guilty when I waste time. I feel guilty when I eat. I feel guilty when I don’t eat. I feel guilty when I don’t exercise. I feel guilty when I do.
If I counted how many times I feel guilty in a day, I think I would be quite unhappy.
Somewhere along the line some of us became programmed to feel guilty for being alive, for simply going about our beautiful, imperfect lives.
But what really do we have to feel guilty about?
In reality, people should only feel guilt when they cause intentional harm to something or someone. Someone who intentionally hurts another person is justified in feeling guilt. Someone who honestly forgot a promise they had made to a friend, should not feel guilt.
We make mistakes, but we are not failures.
Next time you find yourself feeling guilt or even shame surrounding yourself, take a step back and think: did I do something to intentionally harm or bother another person? Did I do something that I needed to do for my own health and wellbeing? Do people make mistakes? Are people imperfect? (hint: the answer to the last two is always yes).
Challenge those thoughts because guilt is not something you should carry around on your shoulders every day.
Do I feel guilty about something I ate last night? Maybe a little…but you know what? I was feeding my body and my soul because that is what I need to do.
Do I feel guilty that I didn’t get all of my work done yesterday? Yes, but I worked for hours straight working on these projects and simply didn’t have time to finish the list. I had no malicious intent to leave assignments unfinished.
Question your guilt. Reframe your situation. Cut yourself a break.
You have nothing to feel guilty about.
Do not feel guilty for being alive.
Do not feel guilty for taking up space.
Do not feel guilty for being imperfect.
We all are.