I posted a link last night on Facebook to an article about When You Just Shouldn’t Give A Damn. I didn’t really care about the first part of it, as it seemed highly focused on television — which is really not a part of my life.

I find that the “11 ways I have stopped giving a damn” really resonated with me. Some of them I already had embraced, notably “not giving a damn about political correctness” or “having more things”, and of course TV (the author seems strangely obsessed with television but maybe that’s just a cultural thing?). 

However it is much harder sometimes to be completely honest with oneself, and to let go of ones insecurities. Impressing other people, being right, dealing with failure, tolerating bad behaviour, living up to expectations — these are all things I have struggled with a lot, my entire life. Not necessarily in obvious ways, but they are constants.

The hardest one for me, and the one which really made me flinch, was “don’t give a damn about making someone feel guilty”. I think this is something I have really spent too much time (unintentionally) indulging in over the years. I never really gave it much thought until I read this article, and realised just how much of my energy gets wasted on guilting other people. Any ex-boyfriends of mine reading will probably be nodding at this, but it’s not just in the context of my relationships. Having raised my own awareness to this behaviour, I have caught myself doing it so many times already! 

And just by stopping and thinking about what I was about to say or do, and acknowledging that the purpose behind my action was to make the other person feel guilty, I am able to see that the person most negatively affected is myself. Why should I care about making someone feel guilty? they either feel guilty enough already, or they don’t, but what benefit does it give me to whine about it? I have been trying recently to “state my truth about my feelings and expectations without trying to force… action based on guilt”, and that had worked to a certain degree… but now I realise how much more I can get out of purposefully just NOT manipulating that guilt-button.

Just now, I got a text from Arthur (the guy who was coaching me and who had me run “through the pain” into an injury), saying he checked my RunKeeper and that he was very happy to see I had walked/run on Monday. Drafting my response was a struggle to stop myself straying into guilt/passive-aggressive terrain. But really, it serves no purpose to be a bitch. His only goal has been to help and encourage me. Yes, it backfired, but we both know that, so let’s move on. 


One thought on “guilt

  1. Pingback: reframing « today I did this for me

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