Ugh, guilt. What a gross word.
I honestly can’t think of a single positive thing associated with that lump of misery.
Guilt is something we all face in our everyday lives – at some point, anyway. If you have mastered the art of giving guilt the boot, then I applaude you sir, because it’s not an easy thing to do.
I don’t know if guilt is hardwired into our DNA or a result of some nasty ass conditioning (cheers, society) but either way, it sucks.
I like to think I didn’t experience guilt as a child (at least not the unwarranted kind). I don’t remember being a monster, and did feel bad when I’d scare my brothers (occasionally) but I don’t think feeling guilty due to a lack of action was something I ever really worried about back then.
Is it the schools to blame? Being reprimanded by teachers for talking or checking your phone. Helping friends with assignments because they weren’t confident in the assignment (“that’s cheating!”). Punishing students because they broke the rules (and then, in adulthood, we are told to screw rules and do our own thing).
Or was it our parents, who in their teachings of manners and respect, forgot to remind us about balance and taking time out and the power of curiosity.
I was famous for my back-chatting back in the day, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost that defiant fire and haven’t spoken up when I needed to.
I feel guilty when I take a day off work, even though I know that’s what my body needs.
I feel guilty when I look up something on my phone when I should be reading for uni.
I feel guilty when I sleep in, or stay up too late.
I feel guilty when I take a break from work or studying.
I feel guilty when my desk is a mess, even though it only affects me.
In summary, I guess you could say I feel guilty about not being the best version of me, 100% of the time. And that should be okay.
Sometimes, I will be Viv in hustle mode, working for hours on end and living off tea.
Sometimes, I will be reading Viv, where all I do is curl up with books or magazines for hours and forget about the world.
Sometimes, I will be sick (thanks, hay fever) and lose a day to the couch with all plans banished.
Sometimes, I distract myself on Instagram or Pinterest and lose hours to my phone (a habit I am trying to break).
And sometimes, when the stars align and the weather is right, inspiration glides in and I write.
The point of it all is this: there will always be a better way to behave (according to others). There will always be studying or work or chores waiting for us whilst we take a temporary hiatus.
Guilt is one of those funny emotions that can haunt you if you let it. Like really fucking eat you alive.
Whether it’s been concocted in your head or by an outside influence, guilt is nasty and relentless and comes when you’re both at your best and worst.
So, how do we overcome this horrid opinion of our actions?
We tell it to shut the hell up, and go back to enjoying that book/ice cream/new shirt (but that isn’t permission to go out and be an asshole and disregard other people’s feelings, FYI).
Life is too god-damn short for us to keep critiquing our every move, decision or mouthful.
I hope you have the courage to own your choices and trust your gut. The rest will take care of themselves.