Guilt trips like shopping trips?!
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!