Have you ever sat by yourself, finished some ice cream, and felt guilty? Or have you told your friends that you were too tired to go out on a weekend and felt guilty afterwards? You aren’t the only one. We are socialized to take the feelings of other people into account. Not just how they feel about us personally, but how they feel about our actions. So if we decide not to go to the gym, we’ll think about how others would feel about us for making that decision. And we feel guilty.

From A Young Age We’re Taught Certain Actions Should Elicit Guilt

We are taught early on in our lives that guilt and shame should motivate us to change our actions. And it is true—you can use those emotions to get children to recognize that bullying or stealing is wrong, for example. But the problem is when those emotions are applied to our everyday lives as adults, and we feel guilty for eating “too much,” or taking some personal time to ourselves. We have to recognize that when you are doing something for yourself, it isn’t a reason to feel guilty. You are allowed to eat a little extra or take some time off.

You Are Allowed To Say No

It can be really difficult to tell your friends, family members, or co-workers no. Maybe your friends want to go on a vacation that you don’t have the money for right now. Or maybe your family member wants you to give them a loan for a new car. Or maybe your co-worker just wants you to pick up their shift. Saying no can be difficult, but once you realize that you can do it, it can be really liberating.

Happy Woman

Enjoy The Lifestyle You Feel Comfortable With

When you stop feeling guilty for enjoying your life, you’ll feel a weight lift off of your shoulders. You’ll find that your job feels easier, your true friendships feel more rewarding, and you’ll feel more at ease with yourself. It is important to recognize that life isn’t about feeling guilty or feeling shame because of what other people might think. It is about making sure that you feel good about yourself, are bettering yourself, and are working towards your goals in a healthy and constructive manner. You do all of those things with positive energy, not with the negativity that comes along with guilt and shame.