Guilty measures

Guilt is such a waste of an emotion.

Not studying enough guilt, not working out guilt, not working hard enough guilt, not seeing my friends enough guilt, not eating healthy enough guilt.

It’s pervasive and destructive, and just so unnecessary.

I’ve been given a bit of insight into my own guilt-enabling behaviour the last few days. Partner 2 has been at work so I’ve been left to my own devices. I’ve been productive, really! Not living the taitai* lifestyle just yet. I’ve been studying, I’ve been writing, I’ve been exercising, I’ve been getting out and exploring. I’ve got a schedule and everything!  But when I put the TV on yesterday afternoon to watch while I ironed partner 2’s shirts (!!), I had the niggling feeling that I really should have done more work on my thesis, and that I should have worked out for longer, and that I shouldn’t have eaten that muesli bar, full of sugar.

This is getting out of hand. Naturally, I turned to Dr Google, entering symptoms and awaiting the diagnosis with baited breath. Middle-class guilt, Catholic guilt, toxic guilt. Gasp! Imposter Syndrome! That most dreaded first world affliction! Further “research” found (long, heartfelt, story complete with overly emotive language made short): people feeling like they don’t deserve to be where they are in life.

I’m going to have to call bullshit on that one. Sorry Doctor, I’m suing for malpractice. I’ve worked hard to get here, partner 2 has worked hard to get here. I’m in a position where I can pursue what I love full time and try and eventually make money out of it. Yes, I’m lucky I have a wonderful supportive partner who is happy to trot off to the office and bring home the bacon while I tinker around with my writing. That said, I’ve worked hard to save up enough money so that our current expenses aren’t eating in to his pay packets just yet.

Aaand now it sounds like I’m having to justify myself. See? Vicious cycle. We work hard and hope for some luck: they right opportunities, the right place, the right time.  But when it all falls into place, we feel guilty about how it happened and feel obliged to work even harder to prove ourselves. It’s bizarre that we cross our fingers for luck but then when our numbers come up, we feel as though we should have crossed them harder or still be crossing them.

This is one of those things, I suspect, that has an underlying feminist discourse at the heart of it, but this post is already too long and ranty.

This is official declaration of hard-line sanctions against:

  1. Feeling guilty**
  2. Not <insert verb/adjective here> enough.
  3. Should: as in “I should really….” Nope. No. If you want to, you will. Not should.

*That’s a whole other post!

**Unless I’ve caused someone harm that they did not deserve. Then you’re just being mean, stop it.

One thought on “Guilty measures

  1. Gen

    What a great post! I totally agree. Guilt is a waste of time and such an unproductive emotion, but kind of addictive… We need to kick the habit!

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