When I Googled the definition of guilt, it said “to make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something”. I don’t know about you, but I feel like our current social climate has experienced an increase in judgements and people inserting their personal opinions. Well I’d like to insert my own personal opinion if I may about NOT allowing others to make you feel guilty for taking care of yourself and your needs. If you are not careful, guilt can sabotage your self-care.
We often refer to things that we enjoy, but others may judge us for as “guilty pleasures”, But I want you to really ask yourself, “do you really feel guilty for doing those things that you enjoy?”. If you like to binge watch Netflix then who am I or anyone else to judge you about it. If taking that time out for yourself is how you unwind and recharge your battery, then please rate the show thumbs up or thumbs down when you’re done so others will know if it was worth watching lol. No, but seriously, if that is your way to relax and practice self-care then who am I or anyone else to tell you that you should not do it. You should binge watch your shows, unplug from social media, sleep in on a Saturday morning, or eat ice cream after a long day if that is your way of taking care of yourself.
I think we forget sometimes that the word “No” can actually be a complete sentence. It’s also a word that many of us have been taught is “unacceptable” or we’ve experienced guilt when we used it. Many people feel the need to explain themselves or negotiate their responses when actually the word “No” is quite sufficient. Now I don’t pretend to be perfect at practicing self-care, but encouraging others helps me to also encourage myself and I have found it very freeing to say “No.”.
Self-care does not come easy for everyone, but we all need to do it. If you struggle with practicing self-care without feeling guilty or feeling like you have to compromise your well-being for others, then one option is to get a self-care accountability buddy. This would be someone who understands and respects the practice of self-care, as well as someone who can encourage and support you to practice it without feeling guilt. Obviously we should all be mindful of how we practice self-care and the activities we choose (I love cake, but I probably shouldn’t eat all of the cake … at least not all at once), but if no harm is being brought to others or yourself, then you should live out your bliss and do so without feeling guilty.