I wish I could do more for my family. I wish I was a better mom. I wish I were a better friend. I wish I did more as a wife. I wish I had more patience with my kid. I wish I had never made those big mistakes when my kid was little. My guilt is like a monster. It feeds off every single insecurity and negative thought. It is insatiable, convincing me that I am not enough for anything I have in my life. It eats away at me until I am a crumbling mess of tears and tissues. I feel my guilt monster in all areas of my life. It is the kind of monster that makes you overcompensate in the most outlandish ways.
When my youngest daughter was a toddler, I was mixed up with the wrong crowd. I always thought I was a leader but it was during this part of my life that I realized I was a follower. The very worst kind, one that would do any and everything to be accepted. I did just that and my consequences were monumental. The most significant and life-changing one was my daughter being in state custody for six long months and a near-year-long stint in rehab for me. It changed me for the better but the guilt that clings on now is endless.
I overcompensate with my mini to make up for the time I was not good enough. To make up for the time I was not present in her life, she is spoiled rotten by me. The feelings of guilt even overflow to relationships I developed after I bettered my life. I feel as if I need to be perfect and my expectations of myself for the relationships in my life are “unrealistically high.” That is a direct quote from my wonderful therapist, Carmen. Carmen and I have been working together for the last 4 months. Currently, she is helping me take down my guilt monster. I want to share the things I am working on with her in hopes that they may help someone else.
Forgive your past self
This is a lot easier said than done. I always felt like I had forgiven myself for the mistakes I made in life and the damage I had caused to myself and others. It was not until I started working with Carmen that I have begun to realize that I have not forgiven myself for my past, but that it is necessary to continue forward with a peaceful life.
Give yourself some grace
I am a work in progress, and you may be too, so remember that. Do not be so hard on yourself when you find that you are feeling unnecessary guilt. You are human. Do not get stuck in the valleys, climb back up to that mountain top.
Set your boundaries
Many times in my life, when I am feeling guilt, it’s because I hadn’t set a boundary for myself. This is a difficult one for me because I am also a people pleaser and enjoy helping others. But again, it is essential to ensure I maintain my peace.
One of my favorite sayings is “Progress not Perfection.” I believe it embodies my life. I am not perfect, but I am better than yesterday.