Therapy for Women: Guilt is Not Our Friend
How many of us, as women, have been conditioned to take care of everybody else? It can feel almost seems sacrilegious to think “What about me?” Guilt seems to be the underlying emotion relating to all of this. I’d like to challenge some of these guilt messages so we can move past it. Why? So that we can allow ourselves to be healthier and that, in turn, will lead to healthier families.
Guilt keeps us from verbalizing our personal needs.
“I might make someone mad, if I tell them what I need.” My reaction to that is, “And?” The key in that sentence is that it is a need, not just a want. If it truly is something you need, then it needs to happen. For example, I’m an introvert so I need quiet, alone time to recharge. It’s not that I just want a break from people. No! If I don’t get that need met, I become irritable, withdrawn, tired, and just plain not fun to be around! How is that helping anyone for me to be like that? Does it make more sense for me to take time to recharge by myself, or stay around everyone feeling miserable and make them miserable in the process?
Guilt prevents us from truly engaging.
If you repeatedly refuse to take care of yourself, this can lead to bitterness. You were created with needs. They must be taken care of. My need for alone, quiet time is just as important as food and water. Without it, I can’t function. If I just ignored that and never took time for myself, I would become bitter toward those that are in my life. That bitterness, mixed with guilt over how angry I am, would then cloud my judgment, impacting interactions with others. I would not be true to who I really am because I wouldn’t feel safe enough to be. That leads to relationships that become false rather than truly, and honestly engaged.
Guilt causes us to ignore our desire for “more.”
“I should be content with the way my life is.” Contentment and a desire for more can be good or bad depending on where it comes from. If your desire is just for worldly things, that can lead you toward poor decisions that will ultimately be selfish in nature and could cause harm. But when desire comes from your soul, it’s different. All of us are here at this unique time in history to make a difference in this world. When you’re not in alignment with that mission, you’ll feel a yearning and deep desire. That desire is meant to get you back on track with God’s desire for your life. That type of desire is to serve a greater good, not just quench a selfish thirst.
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself.
Understand that you’re not being a bad mom or bad wife by needing to do it! What “it” is will be different for all of us. But before you can even begin doing “it”, you’ve got to get past that mindset that it’s wrong to need something for yourself. Self-care – it’s not a bad word!