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20 Things You Really Don’t Need to Feel Guilty About

20 Things You Really Don’t Need to Feel Guilty About

The next time you’re about to blurt out the words “I’m sorry,” stop yourself. Did your actions really justify those feelings of guilt you’re experiencing? Probably not. Indeed, if your actions sound anything like the ones I’m listing below, you really have nothing to apologize for!

1. Declining a social call.

Sometimes, you just want to be left alone, even when a friend wants to hang out. But, more often than not, we guilt ourselves into either attending that social event, or feeling depressed over having let our buddy down. It’s time to choose the third option: enjoying what you want for a change, and not letting others’ opinions affect that.

2. Telling people “no.”

It’s hard to turn people down, especially if you don’t like displeasing other folks. But sometimes, you just gotta do it. Whether it’s shooing away a solicitor at the door, or saying no to an acquaintance who asks for your last piece of gum, sometimes you have to draw the line.

3. Giving yourself a break.

Most people feel like they don’t work as hard as they actually do, which leads to many guilty thoughts entering their minds whenever they’re on a break or vacation. But here’s a fact: you deserve a respite. You shouldn’t beat yourself up for giving yourself a day or two to do what you want.

4. Holding a door open incorrectly.

There’s a ton of weird social protocols that exist around opening doors for other people. It’s usually seen as a courtesy, but, more often than not, something goes wrong.

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You know what I’m talking about. You’ll kindly hold open the door for someone, and they’ll either take an inordinately long amount of time to reach you, or you’ll mistime your gesture, and accidentally slam the door on them while they’re walking through.

It’s time to stop being so hard on yourself. You went into the whole process with good intentions; just because it went down in an awkward way doesn’t mean you should feel bad about your attempt!

5. Not checking your email.

With the advent of the smartphone, it can feel like you’re obligated to check your emails and messages for important memos every few minutes. All this does is spike your stress levels. Instead, check your email at specified, spaced out times during the day, and give yourself some breathing room.

6. Your living situation.

It can be easy to feel guilty about where and how you’re living, especially if you are being judged about it by another. The truth is that only you know what’s best for you. There’s no reason to feel bad about what works for you.

7. Telling people off.

Sometimes, you have to stand your ground. I’m not saying that you need to be a jerk, just that you shouldn’t be afraid to let people know when they’ve wronged you. Don’t feel guilty about preventing others from taking advantage of you.

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8. Not pleasing those you care for.

Whether it be your mom, dad, or boss, sometimes you can’t please everybody. It’s important therefore to not feel guilty about the times that you’ve disappointed someone you care about. Remember that you’re your own person, and that your outlook on life shouldn’t be based on others’ opinions.

9. Binging on Netflix.

People (and I’ve seen this in myself and others) generally get this hollow look in their eyes after binging on Netflix, as if they’ve done something unspeakable. Stop it. There’s no reason to feel bad about providing yourself with some entertainment, even if it is for hours on end.

10. Your food choices.

I know that certain kinds of foods are called “guilty pleasures,” but really, if you enjoy them then that’s all that matters. You shouldn’t let feelings of guilt drive what you eat.

11. Your career goals.

Misinformation is rampant, so don’t judge your career goals on what other folks say, and don’t change them out of a sense of guilt. Do your own research, and pick whatever feels right to you.

12. Your personal life choices.

Whether or not you choose to find a girlfriend or boyfriend, get married, and have kids, you don’t have to feel bad about whatever you decide to do. You shouldn’t be guilted into living your life a certain way.

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13. Your political views.

Whether you think of yourself as a conservative or a liberal, you shouldn’t get down on yourself just because someone criticizes your point of view.

14. Being single.

So what if you currently aren’t in a relationship? Don’t let others guilt you into feeling bad about that. Instead, take the opportunity to do more with the alone time that you have.

15. Your religious views.

Whether you are devout or an atheist, you shouldn’t let public or family opinion make you feel guilty about what works best for you. If you want to make a change, do it for your own reasons, not theirs.

16. Not accepting a friend request.

Don’t feel bad about declining a friend request from an acquaintance on Facebook. If you want to keep certain things private, that’s your right, and they probably won’t even notice.

17. Your imperfections.

So what if you’ve got a crooked nose or one leg that’s longer than the other. They’re what make you a unique person! You don’t have to apologize about what makes you different to other people.

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18. Not being able to answer a question.

Nobody knows everything. We all have gaps in our knowledge, and when you find one yours, don’t feel guilty about it. Just take it as an opportunity to learn more!

19. Spending money.

Now, you shouldn’t go too overboard, but it’s very unhealthy to beat yourself up about every single dime you spend. In the long run, as long as you haven’t spent an exorbitant amount on something frivolous, it won’t matter anyways. What really matters is that you’re happy with what you purchased, and the reasons that you did so.

20. Sending someone a late response.

Sometimes life takes over, and we can’t respond to a text or Facebook message for a couple days. There’s no need to apologize to that person, you’re busy and you have a life of your own! Best of all, they probably won’t notice as they too have a busy life.

Are there a few things in life that you used to feel guilty about, but now no longer do? Please share your stories in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: A young woman is sitting by the water’s edge in a harbour via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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