Most of the women I work with tell me that they want to avoid guilt at all costs. It’s among the top three emotions they say they don’t want to feel…and yet it is usually one of the top three emotions they DO feel (especially when it comes to the relationship they have with their mothers).
Because of this I once ran a workshop on how to set boundaries without feeling guilt.
My bad. LOL
Since then I have been careful to say that as long as guilt is a human emotion, and as long as we’re human, we are going to feel guilt from time to time.
Now I am taking it a step farther with a radical suggestion:
If your choice is between guilt and resentment, choose guilt, every time (thank you Dr. Gabor Maté for that bit of wisdom).
Stay with me.
If you have a difficult relationship with your mother you probably tend to make feeling guilt mean that you deserve to feel guilt…that something you have done (usually to take care of yourself) is bad/wrong.
It’s based on what you think other people (especially your mother) think. It can also be based on a value system that you no longer buy into.
What happens is that your mother (or someone else) doesn’t like the changes she sees in you. In her story about you there’s no room for you to grow or be different. You challenge her world view. And she wishes you would stay the way you were. A part of you might feel that she’s right…and so you give in so as not to rock the boat.
But holding yourself back for her will not do you – or her – any good. Resentment (which usually comes from abandoning yourself and doing for others at the expense of yourself) grows because we tend to feel it’s justified.
Guilt fades. Resentment eats away at your soul.
So pay attention to the difference between the guilt you learned to feel in order to stay attached to your mother and the healthy regret that comes from being out of integrity with yourself.
And choose guilt every time. It gets easier. Really and truly.
Much, much love,