6 Things You Should Stop Feeling Guilty About

 by Brandi Koskie

Ask yourself: Is there a lot we do to feel guilty about, or are we just beating ourselves up for no good reason?


All the pressures of modern society, family and work can make you feel that if you aren't giving everyone and everything 100 percent all of the time, then you've failed. The truth is, you can't be all and do all for everyone all of the time. And when you give yourself over to that, you're going to feel a massive weight lift.

Guilt in and of itself isn't a destructive emotion, unless you let it become all-consuming. Then it can get the best and worst of us. Here are some of our most common guilt-inducing moments and why you need to just let them go.

1. Mom Guilt

Don't drive yourself crazy sweating the decisions you make as a mother. Bottle versus breast? Work or stay home? Helicopter or free-range? Late or early bedtime? Cookies for breakfast or never at all? Ask yourself: Are your kids happy? Are your kids healthy? Then job well done, Mama!

Here's the thing: Your mother and grandmother didn't sweat this stuff. Your kids aren't sweating this stuff, either. Do what's best for you and your family and let the rest go. Rather than sinking your precious time, energy and mind space into all of this guilt over what you did or didn't do "right," give some of that back to yourself and some of it back to them.

Read more: Uplifting Advice From Moms Who Know Best

2. FOMO Guilt

Work overtime to save the project? Yes. Take dinner to a sick friend? Yes. Wine and yoga night with the girls? Yes. Manage the household finances? Yes. If you can't say no, especially to the things you really don't want to do, you may be living with a bit of guilt related to "fear of missing out" — aka FOMO guilt.

When you say yes to everything and overfill your calendar because you can't say no or you fear what you'll miss if you do say no, you're burdening yourself with unnecessary guilt. But you won't believe the freedom that comes with not volunteering for every committee and saying yes to everything because no one else raised their hand. You're only one person with so many hours. Best of all, no one will think less of you if you pass once in awhile.

Read more: 7 Reasons to Say NO to FOMO

3. Netflix Binge Guilt

If you're trying to binge watch your favorite show, but you're burdened by guilt the entire time, can you actually chill? No, you can't. Wherever you are, be there fully. If you're going to dive into comfy pants and camp out on your couch for the next six hours watching the latest Netflix blockbuster, then do it! It's only wasted time if you spend that time thinking you should be somewhere else. Your brain needs the veg time as much as it needs the more cerebral brain food. It's OK to just kick back, relax and hide out in front of the television for the night — or the entire weekend!

Listen now: Marie Forleo Shares Her Secrets for Avoiding Burnout

4. Diet Cheater Guilt

If all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, then all grilled chicken and zucchini noodles makes him a cravings-ravaged lunatic. A week of healthy eating that's punctuated with a brownie is hardly a week lost. It's a week where you took really good care of yourself and acted like a human being by having something decadent and tasty.

You gotta treat yourself, but you don't need to beat up yourself. "Eat all the junk food you want — as long as you make it yourself," is one of Michael Pollan's best food rules. Control the ingredients and ditch the processed unknowns, and then "cheating" on your apples and yogurt dip with a homemade apple pie will become a lot easier to swallow.

Read more: The Art and Science of "Cheat Meals"

5. Body Guilt

What has your body done for you lately? Everything! Your body is a workhorse that deserves to be celebrated and rewarded for the 1,001 things it does for you every day. It lifts your kid, carries the groceries, runs a 5K, crunches the numbers, breathes deeply, thinks hard and puts in overtime while you get to sleep.

So can it catch a break if it does all that in whatever size and shape it's in? All too often people berate and shame their bodies for looking a certain way or not looking enough another way. An unreasonable and unrealistic standard has been set by a small minority; one that none of us are required to live up to.

Read more: How to Find Your Happy Weight at Any Size

6. Perfection Guilt

You aren't perfect. No one is. And that's OK. Sometimes you have to sign a permission slip with a green crayon, and sometimes you have to be reminded to pick up the dog from the groomer. At the end of the day, it all shakes out.

"What You Can, When You Can," a book published in 2015, gave everyone permission to do their best in any given situation. Imagine giving up the guilt and showcasing even the smallest successes using #WYCWYC. No healthy lunch choices, so you ordered a burger and swapped the fries for apple slices. You may not get to go to the gym every day, but you climb the stairs at the office every day. Allow yourself to let the little things add up!

What Do YOU Think?

Are you dealing with any of these kinds of guilt? Which ones? Or are there other types of guilt you're struggling with? How do you let it go? Share your thoughts, stories and suggestions in the questions below!

Read more: 9 Self-Love Tips That Won't Make You Roll Your Eyes


Write a response