When you take a day off, power down the electronics, splurge on an ice cream, or even take a well-deserved trip to the beach, please don’t feel guilty. It’s unfair.
An article in the Washington Post states that “being busy” is like an addiction. The contributor, Brigette Shulte, shares that a man she interviewed “says he works 72 hours a week because everyone else at his office does.” In fact, he’s thinking about cutting back on sleep so he can be more productive. She also shares the story of a woman who says the last time she had a moment for herself was when she went for her annual mammogram.
Come on. Really? Evidently not.
The New York Times calls the experience of guilt pushing yourself, your employees, and your children into a frenetic pace the “Busy Trap.” However, on the other side of the coin, cutting back also comes with its share of emotional burdens. When you choose to say no to something, guilt can also rear its ugly head.
The problem is by trying so hard to be better, smarter, faster, richer, and more popular you can’t stop the frenetic pace of fitting into everyone’s expectations. And that comes with a large heaping of guilt when you fall short.
It’s time for a guilt-free year. It’s time to find ways to spend time on you without worrying who you might upset along the way. While it is easy to say you’re going to let go of guilt, it’s a whole other thing to do so. Letting go of guilt and the feeling that you’re being selfish or indulgent when you do something for yourself is integral to success and self-care. You’re a vessel through which a healthy and giving energy runs through and out into your community and family. If this vessel becomes blocked, you can’t give anything to anyone.
When you can’t commit or bring your best to whatever the situation, it’s okay to say no, guilt free. Here are six books to help you let go of guilt and live the life you deserve:
Setting Boundaries: How to Set Boundaries with Friends, Family, and in Relationships, Be More Assertive, and Start Saying No Without Feeling Guilty (Break … and Recover from Unhealthy Relationships) by Linda Hill. In this book, life coach Linda Hill teaches how to get out from under the trap of constant self-scrutiny and derisive criticism and set boundaries that will promote self-worth. When you’re able to break through common misconceptions, transform your mindset, and value your worth you’ve honed the tools to be free of the guilt holding you back from living your best life possible.
Let Go of the Guilt by Valorie Burton. Life coach Burton introduces the concept of“False Guilt” that women often feel when they struggle to meet demands of modern life. Between job expectations, family demands, and personal goals, it’s a struggle for women to not let something slip and thus feel guilty about it. She shares how you can stop overcompensating and over-apologizing for unmanageable requests and confidently rest assured they’re doing their best. Learn the five thought patterns of guilt, and how to release the emotional baggage tied to unreasonable expectations. Instead, discover how you can set yourself up for success and equip yourself with a plan of action to let go of the guilt for good.
Setting Boundaries Will Set You Free: The Ultimate Guide to Telling the Truth, Creating Connection, and Finding Freedom by Nancy Levin. This book is the antidote to worrying that setting boundaries will cause conflict. Instead, Levin demonstrates through personal and client scenarios how developing the boundary-setting habit is more doable than you think and much more liberating. From her own struggles with enforcing personal boundaries, she shares how her life was headed in a direction that deeply threatened her personal relationships and her own health. Only when she decided to say no” and accept the accompanying short-term discomfort was she able to vastly transform her life and have long-lasting positive results.
Escaping Toxic Guilt: Five Proven Steps to Free Yourself from Guilt for Good! by Susan Carrell. (McGraw Hill – requested) A great opening statement in this empowerment book by Susan Carrell is “Life shouldn’t be a guilt trip.” True that! So why do you still feel trapped by toxic guilt that strains relationships and debilitates your future? It’s time to liberate yourself from past mistakes and the energy drainers and focus on living joyfully. Carrell shows you how with her simple, effective five step proven plan for success.
I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt by Madeleine Dore. (Avery Publishing/ Random House – requested) Productivity guilt is no laughing matter. People berate themselves every day when they don’t get their to-do list done. It causes sleeplessness, loss of focus, health impairment, and guilt-ridden anxiety. Imagine, even on days when things do get done, there is often struggles around those left untouched. In her book, Dore shares the importance of stepping into unpredictability and embracing the joy of messiness. So, you didn’t do a thing today—big deal! While it might be hard to imagine, it’s one of the most liberating and healthy approaches to living a full life.
You Are a F*cking Awesome Mom: So Embrace the Chaos, Get Over the Guilt, and Be True to You by Leslie Anne Bruce. (Seal Press – requested) Probably the most in-your-face title for women who’ve had a baby then lost their minds. Though life may seem like it will never return to normal, award-winning journalist and Instagram star Bruce shares self-empowerment lessons for mothers who need to break free from the external guilt and internal struggle weighing them down. This book packed with community, encouragement, and inspiration for the new mom is designed to provoke an emotional and physical, liberating transformation.
Images Courtesy of Harper Collins Christian Publishing and Hay House, Inc.