Ahh, guilt. It never, ever goes away, and as a person born with a massive guilt complex, I know how painful it can be.
I feel guilty constantly, about everything, to everyone. If I work a lot during the day, I feel guilt towards my child – playing happily beside me. If I spend hours snuggling with her and gazing at her lovely face, I feel guilty that perhaps I am a Bad Worker.
If I don’t have dinner on the table, or the house is a mess, when my partner gets home from work, I feel guilty: if it is spotless, I feel like maybe there isn’t enough to occupy my time (granted, this one doesn’t crop up much).
There are the general women-issue guilts: working too much or too little, spending too much or little time with children and family, not losing weight quickly enough, losing it too quickly, spending the day in PJs every now and again – that list goes on forever.
Then there is guilt for eating something calorie-laden, guilt for feeling like a killjoy when refusing something calorie-laden, guilt for sleeping in instead of power-walking, guilt for power-walking instead of cuddling your partner or kids….
We just cannot win, and it goes on forever.
I, and many of my friends, constantly convince myself that everything which happens in my world and that of those around me which is negative, is somehow my fault entirely. I can spend a long time dreaming up convoluted ways to lead sad stories right back to me and some mistake I made back in 1999.
Is it just me? Or do we all do this? I can’t help but think it is the latter, as “I’m soo sorry” and “I just feel terrible..” is a familiar refrain among my female friends. I am the kind of person who apologises to someone who crashes a trolley into my leg at the supermarket, and while not everyone is so extreme, there is certainly an unfair level of guilt out there, and I would love to know why.
Are we spreading ourselves too thinly, feeling that we are never quite 100% in the moment? Probably. But what choice is there? We can hardly cut out big chinks of our lives – the guilt would be overwhelming.
I can only suggest we give ourselves a break and relax, but then I couldn’t practise what I preached. In fact, I have been pondering on this for far too long now – there’s a toilet to be scrubbed, and frankly, I feel terrible that I have whiled away this time at the computer…