Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

5 Life Lessons I Learned From Dean Winchester 10 Best Online Shopping Sites I Wish I Knew Earlier 10 Reasons Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend 30 Incredible Things Your iPhone Can Do 10 Things Only Detail-Oriented People Do

Trending in Communication

1 How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often 2 How to Fight Your Irrational Fears And Stay Strong 3 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Ways to Get Back on Track 4 8 Ways to Change Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors 5 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Advertising

Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

Advertising

How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Advertising

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

Advertising

6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

More Self-Care Tips

Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

Read Next