Burden Of Guilt

๐†๐ฎ๐ข๐ฅ๐ญ – we have all felt it at one point in our life. We have let it consume us at the expense of our relationships, our health and even our careers.

๐ˆ ๐ซ๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐จ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐๐ž๐œ๐ข๐ฌ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ both personally and professionally that have left a profound sense of guilt. It has caused me to lose sleep, to not run (although the cold weather and snow is not my friend sometimes!) and even to not eat well. My health had begun to suffer for it. I know the decisions in the long run have been the right ones, so why did I feel so guilty? Self-sabotage.

I had the opportunity to join an amazing committee doing something that I am extremely passionate about that combines both my personal and professional interests. However, I joined because I felt obligated. I joined because I wanted to show that I was worthy of such an opportunity. However, I knew deep down it wasn’t the right time to make such a decision. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to devote the amount of time necessary to be as productive and successful as I know I could be. But I did it anyway.

In rolls the waives of overwhelm of shifting my schedule to accommodate an already busy routine. The waive of stress attempting to fit everything in not only to attend meetings but to actually handle important tasks necessary to fulfill the goals of the team. I found myself removing my self-care goals for my own personal health to manage new schedules. I felt guilty for feeling guilty.

We all make choices we don’t want to make for fear of upsetting or hurting another. We feel bad for wanting to remove toxic people from our lives because our truest intentions are to help them. We feel bad if something doesn’t bring us joy anymore but we keep doing it because we feel obligated to. Once we realize that making the decision lifts the burden of guilt, the burden of stress…the burden itself, the sense of relief is so freeing.

It’s okay to make a choice that bests suits us. It’s okay to say no without having to explain why. It’s okay to not want something, or someone, in our lives that causes us anxiety.

I made the difficult choice to step down from the committee, for now. I realized that all the stress and guilt I was feeling for wanting to step down, was my own. I didn’t want to be seen as unworthy personally and professionally. I didn’t want to be someone who was unable to manage their time. Let me tell you, if there is one thing about it me, it’s that I am OCD about time management haha.

The point is, no one was making me feel bad for my choices. I was. I was feeling guilty thinking I was letting others down. I was feeling guilty for wanting something so good in my life but I couldn’t make it work. Even if others were making me feel guilty, they shouldn’t be in my life. We all need a circle of people in our lives that support our decisions and understand our whys. Much like my previous post, instead of What if, ask so what? So what, I have to step back because my attention needs to be elsewhere at this particular time in my life. Life does go on. Our decisions are inconvenient for others but that doesn’t mean we should let anyone make us feel bad or make us feel less worthy. I AM worthy. YOU are worthy. WE are more worthy to ourselves by making better choices.

Lift the burden of guilt and feel the sense of peace and calm it brings. Sometimes it takes a little longer to feel it, but it will be there. Give yourself time to grieve but don’t let it weigh you down. Keep moving forward at YOUR pace, not anyone else’s. What is the right pace for you? No one knows…but you.

Remember, life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful
Carol

Self Vacation

Wait, what?! I already try to plan a vacation each year, usually every other year, what is a “self” vacation? To me, it’s learning to say no. I do so much already both personally and professionally that I often over-extend myself. I feel guilty if I don’t volunteer for an upcoming event, make a donation, attend a group run, etc. But why? Because I care.

We often have such a busy schedule we don’t take time sit back and relax, have a cup of tea, read a book. How many tasks do you have in mind that you never get to because other obligations get in the way? Is the only time you take a break, when you are so stressed out you just can’t get out of the house or want to talk to anyone, in person or on the phone? Breathe.

You are no good to yourself, your family, your friends, your business, etc if you are burnt out. Although it can be difficult in the beginning, it will get easier to tell yourself, I need time, I need a break, I need to take time to get this-that or the other thing done you’ve been wanting to. If there are some in your life that get offended if you say no to an invitation to go out, to go to an event, to make a donation or to participate in an activity, you need to shift your inner circle. You are allowed to say no. You are allowed to say that you have other obligations. Most importantly, you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

So how did I take my “self vacation”? I blocked out one week per month where I am taking an evening vacation. No group runs, no large social events, no meetings, and no work. Unless of course there is a personal or business emergency. Don’t worry, I will still be working during the day, duh! I reviewed my calendar, picked a week each month with no obligations already and I blocked it out-in bright bold colors. I love having a calendar in my hand that I can write in each day, and it’s color-coded. My electronic calendar is as well, both personally and professionally. I will use this time to read, take the dog for a walk, have dinner with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile, clean out clothes to donate, take a yoga class ~ whatever I want to do!

Do it…try it…it just may be the most freeing feeling in the world. I challenge you and let me know how it works out for you!

And remember ~ just keep moving!

Life doesnโ€™t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
Carol

It Takes a Village

I’ve said it before, and probably will continue to say it a lot….Many of us struggle in all aspects of our life, especially when we are injured, sick or depressed and are not able to get out and do the things we want to do. It takes a village to help us through.

When I received my diagnosis in 2003 of Ankylosing Spondylitis, and then Lupus, my first thought was, what the **** is that, and why me?! I’m sure so many have said the same thing with any diagnosis they have received. What is important is what do you do with that news, what is next? Many fall into depression, often severe and they just can’t seem to get out of it. Others, thrive in a way many of us wish we could. They look the diagnosis in the face and say, not today, you will not get me. I honestly, didn’t know what to do because I didn’t understand any of it. No one in my family, that I knew of at the time had anything like that. And it didn’t end there, from 2003 to 2009 I was diagnosed with multiple auto-immune conditions. I considered myself pretty healthy and active, so what was I doing wrong? My family wasn’t sure what to do with it either. The more I talked about, the more I tried to describe how I was feeling or why I couldn’t do something, especially my daughter, they had a hard time hearing it, and many times didn’t want to hear it, because it sounded like excuses. Those famous words ~ but you don’t look sick. Honestly, please don’t ever say that to anyone with a hidden disease ~ autoimmune, cancer, depression, PTSD, anything. It is a gut-wrenching painful thing to say to someone. You have no idea the internal struggle that is faced.

As I read more about what my conditions were and what could be potential causes, as I listened to the doctor’s about treatments, I continued to question, why me. This isn’t my life. As I lay curled up in a ball most of the time feeling sorry for myself, I had that ah-ha moment while my daughter watched me struggle. Nope, this is not how my life is supposed to be. This is not what my daughter is going to think her life is going to be. I found a new doctor that would listen to ME, helped me on the path I wanted to follow and I was on the road to a new “normal” life. I changed my diet and began walking more – just keep moving. The more I moved the better I felt. My family and friends were my village, my support system cheering me on every step of the way, and they continue to do so. I am forever grateful for them. Eventually I started running and from 2010 to now, I’ve run numerous races including four full marathons. Currently, I am training to complete my first ultra marathon. Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days, but I learned how to handle them better and how to help feel better both physically and emotionally. Even if people don’t want to hear it, I verbalize it. I share my story in the hopes it can help even one person handle what they are going through.

It’s not easy for those not experiencing what you are experiencing to understand. We try to educate them however it is hard for them to grasp. More and more though conditions such as depression, PTSD, addiction, etc are being brought to light so that family members and friends can learn to understand and find ways to help you through the darkest days. It should no longer be shameful or be kept a secret. Embrace it, understand it and just be kind for you do not know what others are going through. Just keep moving.

It truly does take a village. Whether you are an injured runner and you are down, frustrated or depressed because you are not out doing the things you want to do, you can form a group such as my running group, S.W.I.F.T. (www.swift4running.com) did. They basically created an injured reserved meet-up where those unable to run or walk at the time can meet with others and just get out of the house for coffee or a drink and socialize, boost the mood and provide support.

When an individual and their families are depressed and struggling to pay their bills due to cancer treatments and depression, it takes a village to help them through this process. There is an organization in Philadelphia, Legacy of Hope, that does just that. https://www.legacyofhope.life/ “Because we believe no family should lose their home or go without food because a loved one is fighting cancer and no promising cancer research should go unfunded.”

Life throws us a curve, all the time. It redirects when we least expect it. We allow it to suck the energy and sometimes the life out of us. It becomes toxic. We get lost and our life spirals out of control and we just don’t know how to get out of it. We find others in the same or similar situations and together, you unfortunately become toxic. We convince ourselves that we can’t. You can’t because you won’t. I know that sounds harsh, but you can, if you just try, one step at a time. It won’t happen overnight. But if you continue to allow yourself to stay stuck, to settle that this is how your life is supposed to be, you will remain stuck. You have a choice. You can say to everyone that is trying to or has tried to help you, that they can’t help you, that life sucks and there is no way out. You have a choice to at least try, to tell yourself one positive thing each day, or in each moment that you are struggling. I truly believe a positive mind leads to a positive life. Life can be unfair and shitty, but you don’t have to allow it to win because you will miss so many amazing moments that are wonderful. Remove the toxic self defeating language and feelings. Do me a favor, just keep moving. Find your village, even if it’s just one person. Because whatever your pace is, forward IS a pace. Others believe in you, just believe in yourself.

Life doesnโ€™t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
Carol