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guilt trips shopping trips

How guilt trips are like shopping trips (only a little less fun)…

guilt trips shopping tripsI know.

Guilt trips like shopping trips?!

What?!

I can almost hear your brain trying to process this information…

“I don’t understand! Shopping trips are about fun and indulgence! They’re all about convincing yourself that dashing from store to store qualifies as enough cardio to justify a chocolate treat with your afternoon coffee…”

“…guilt trips are horrible, leave me feeling miserable and drained…”

“How can these two things have ANYTHING in common?!”

Bear with me.

Let’s start with your shopping trip.

You set out in the morning, not really looking for anything in particular. You buy a little something in the first shop, and you have your first bag of the day.

With a smile on your face, and a spring in your step you continue on. You go from store to store, browsing the shelves and racks for anything that takes your fancy.

You buy something else, and you have another bag.

You visit several more shops, deciding to treat yourself to this…that…oh, and just one of those too. A few more bags join the collection.

At this point you realise that you’re about halfway around the shopping centre.

You could go back to the car and drop the bags off…but that would mean walking all the way back to where you started. You’re not really looking to buy anything else, so you decide it’s not really worth it…besides, you can manage.

On you go.

Another shop…another purchase. It’s just a small one though, so you don’t really notice the difference when you add it to your cluster of bags.

You ‘pop in’ to another couple of shops…and leave with two more small bags in your hands.

The last leg of your trip brings a few more purchases…and several more bags appear.

Exhausted, you end up back at your car and finally get to put your collection of bags down.

It’s only at this point that you realise just how much you’ve been carrying and how heavy it was. Each individual bag didn’t weigh that much…but put together it’s quite a weight that you’ve been lugging around.

You weren’t looking for anything in particular…you weren’t expecting to gather such a collection of bags…but one by one they tagged along and before you knew it your arms were killing you!

Guilt works pretty much the same way.

You take on a little guilt here and there…for eating a bar of chocolate, missing the gym, not hitting that deadline, not having time to read with your child yesterday evening….

Each thing you feel guilty for isn’t actually that big…but add them all up and before you know it you’re carrying quite a weight around.

The thing is that once we pick them up, we do have a habit of carrying them around with us.

Rather than feeling a little guilty for a moment and then moving on, we beat ourselves up about it…again, and again, and again.

I had a great one last weekend.

While I was out shopping on Saturday I realised I’d skipped breakfast. It was already lunchtime and I was in a rush, so I grabbed a vegetable pasty on the go.

I then proceeded to berate myself about it (as I had said I was going to improve my eating habits to give me more energy).

Not just once.

All. The. Way. Home.

So what was the point of it? What did I actually accomplish from it?

The answer, is not a lot.

So the question is, how do we deal with it?

We need to learn to put the bags down.

Or even better, don’t pick them up in the first place.

The answer, is to simply ROAR.

Rectify Or Acknowledge, Release.

The first option is to rectify it. If you can do something about it then do it! It’s much easier and less hassle than carrying the guilt around.

If you can apologise to someone, apologise. If you can change the situation in some way, change it. You’ll feel much better, trust me.

If there’s nothing that you can do about it (like me and my pasty) then acknowledge what has happened and release it. Accept the situation and let it go.

Guilt doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t rectify it. It just serves to weigh you down…like the bags.

If you can learn to put the bags down then life will be a whole lot lighter…and much more enjoyable.

So learn to ROAR and lighten your load!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

The dreaded S word

The dreaded ‘S’ word – Part 1

The dreaded S wordWe all know it.

We all use it multiple times a day.

It’s the “S” word that is dominating our lives.

No, it’s not “Shoes” (although they do play a major part for me!)…No, it’s not Sugar (though many of us do indulge from time to time I’m sure)…No, it’s not S&@t!

It’s “Should”.

How many times a day do we use the word “Should”?

“I should lose some weight”

“I should clean the house”

“I should have done that faster”

“I should have remembered that”

“I should eat healthier”

“I should drink less”

“I should exercise more”

“I should be doing something which is fulfilling”

“I should be a better mum”

“I should be doing better at work”

“I should see my friends more”

Should, Should, Should, Should, Should.

In fact, it’s fair to say that we spend a large portion of our lives “Should-ing” all over ourselves.

The question is…”Why SHOULD we?”

Is it because other people think that we should? Is it because we have been told that we should? Is it because society says that we should? Is it because we have the words of people in our past echoing in our heads?  When we say that we “should” whose standards are we using to decide this?

There are really four elements to this “Should” situation.

The first is that so many of our “Shoulds” aren’t even ours, so many of them come from other people – Partners, Parents, Friends, Media…we are being influence by those around us all the time, even if we’re not consciously aware of it.  Let’s be honest, how many of us would feel such an intense pressure to lose weight if it weren’t for the hundreds of images of skinny celebrities, pop stars, and actresses we are being bombarded with every single week? How many of us have heard friends or family who don’t seem to have an ounce of fat on them say “Oh I really have to lose a few pounds?”  Or have heard one of our girlfriends say of someone else “Ooh, she really shouldn’t be wearing that”? Every time we hear someone make a statement like this, our brain takes note and questions whether or not we SHOULD be thinking the same thing.

How about “I should be doing better at work”…where does this come from? Is it from your boss? Your co-workers? If this belief has appeared because you have a boss whose expectations are completely unrealistic, who is so out of touch with what you do that they have no clue what is feasible with the time and resources you have (sound familiar ladies?)….then why do we take it on?

The really interesting thing about statements like “I should do better” is that when we look at it closely, we don’t even know what it really means. Better than what? Better than who? How will we know when we’re doing “better”? In spite of this, we still repeat statements just like this to ourselves on a regular basis. It could be argued that we’re setting ourselves up for a fall…

What about the phrase “I should have done that faster”? Rather than focusing on what could have been improved, wouldn’t it be better for us to take a moment to recognise and acknowledge the fact that we have completed a task which was on our “to do” list? If we recognised and rewarded ourselves for things that we have done well (or just for things that we have done!) rather than focusing only on the negative aspects then who thinks that we might be enjoying life a little more…?

You see the challenge with the word “should” is it implies some sort of deficiency. If you use the word “should” you are suggesting that there is something wrong, and that you have a reason (no matter how illogical or unreasonable) that the situation has to be different….which often leads to guilt…and in the case of us ladies, a lot of it.

If these “shoulds” aren’t even ours, then why do we spend so much time feeling bad about them?!

So step 1 in solving our “Should” problem is first, to work out whether they are actually ours. Our beliefs, our thoughts, out standards.

Next time you hear yourself say the word “Should” (whether it’s out loud or just in your head), ask yourself honestly “Why Should I?” Do I really think I should, or am I just repeating someone else’s words?  Does it really matter to me, or am I doing it to please or appease someone else? Make sure that the standards that you are holding yourself to really are YOURS.

Join me tomorrow for steps 2, 3 and 4!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x