Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Guilt

I was raised in a family that valued hard work. My mom was the only child of a blueberry farmer, so she did it all. My dad has worked at or on something from the moment he was born. Even today at almost 78 years old it is not unusual for him to be out cutting wood for somebody on their property and hauling home three trailer loads of wood to be split for his wood stove. Generally he is doing this by himself, and he wonders why I worry.

Having been raised with this work ethic I always feel that I must be busy and productive at all times, and be able to give an account of everything I have done for the day.

There was not a lot of encouragement to have a hobby as I was growing up.

Something that I have always know about myself but never really addressed, is the guilt I feel when I want to do something I enjoy. Such as my photography or even just reading a book during the middle of the day. I will make these deals with myself, if I get this, this and this done then I can go out for a couple of hours and explore with my camera. Usually by the time I get those things done I don't have any desire or energy left to go out anymore.

What brought about the realization that I need to deal with this guilt issue? I started sessions with a personal trainer this week. My personal trainer also happens to be my yoga instructor. If you know anything about yoga it is about the mind and the body. We met for 1-1/2 hours for our first session to go over things I wanted to work on, goals, my trouble areas, etc. Then we got down to the nitty gritty, the stuff behind my physical weaknesses. Guilt, perfectionism, self-esteem. I basically carry all these issues on my back, causing undue stress which leads to weakness and pain.

Things I will be working on to say good-bye to guilt are:

  •  Stop feeling guilty because I don't "work". God has blessed me with the opportunity to not have to work.
  •  Use the gifts and talents that God has given me to be a blessing to others. Stop trying to hide them  under a bushel. Let them shine.
  •  Stop having to give an account of everything I have done or am going to do for the day.
  •  Take a day off once a week. A day off from my exercises, housework, responsibilities and use that day to enjoy the gifts and talents that God has given me.

I am calling my day off my Creative Inspiration Day. My first one is tomorrow!

*I share this today because if someone reading this is dealing with their own guilt issues, I just want to let you know that you are not alone. Together we can say....


  1. Oh my gosh, we are so much alike!! I admire you for taking the steps to change things!! Perhaps I will learn something from you! Enjoy your CID tomorrow!!

  2. I have started reading this book called SWITCH,which I am liking a lot. Check it out at Amazon.

  3. Wow Sarah, If I wasn't working 3 days a week I think I might be in your boat with you. Something to ponder for sure. As it is, my Mondays and Wednesdays have ended up being consumed with 'play' to the point I don't get anything done around the house on those days. But this year has been different, I've tried to get at least one thing done on those days and feel so much better about it. hmmmm you've really got me thinking.

  4. What a touching post and it resonates with me...I have also struggled with feeling guilty because I don't currently work. I feel very grateful that I'm able to pursue my creativity full-time. I'm so glad you're letting go of your guilt - your Creative Inspiration Days sound fantastic (and well deserved!). Have a great weekend, Sarah. :)

  5. Get out of my head!!!!!!! Even working full time, I feel guilt at how stingy I am with my off work time and who I will spend it with. I need my time to recharge...and yet feel guilty and selfish for needing that time...

  6. For anyone who is fortunate enough to stop by your blog, you teach us something every time! Thank you so much for sharing your words and your photos - you are an inspiration for all of us!

  7. Wow I feel the same I don't work due to ill health and I suffer dreadfully when I say goodbye when my husband leaves for work...

  8. Here are a couple of quotes to help dispel guilt Sarah....

    "Writing or making anything—a poem, a bird feeder, a chocolate cake—has self-respect in it. You're working. You're trying. You're not lying down on the ground, having given up." Sharon Olds

    "One who has mastered the art of living simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing." James Michener

    This culture attaches work to making money in an unhealthy way. Effort is needed for both work and play/creativity. And it is the effort that counts in the end...right? xo

  9. I love this post, Sarah. I have always felt guilty when I'm not "pulling my weight." Of course, these days that's a bit harder because there is more to pull ... well, what I really mean is I always feel I need to be doing my part, which has always made it challenging for me to really relax. But then, I have spent more time over recent years doing what I want to do with my spare time. I love your Creative Inspiration Days concept. Can't wait to see what you bring to your posts. Yay for you!

  10. Sarah - you must be my long lost sister! I too was brought up in a family of "hard workers" and play always came after chores were finished, homework was done, responsibilites addressed. Your words ring true with me and are a reminder to let my inner slave driver go and give myself permission to to spend time just being me and doing the things that enrich my life. Thanks for the much needed message!

  11. Been there done that! Still trying to fit it all into a 24 hr day...but since having had to return to work after being a stay-at-home mom for over 20 yrs (I so get that "guilt") I have to prioritize more than ever. I know that I am right where I need to be right now, letting the Lord work through me. It's all good.


  12. I have so so so been there, Sarah. I like that you give yourself permission for a day off once a week. I think I may have to adopt that! I am definitely my own worst enemy.

  13. Well. Yes, we are in the same little boat floating along the Guilt River. See, I knew there was a reason we clicked so quickly.
    I applaud your decision to claim a day for you-with no guilt about it. I do allow myself to take photos. That doesn't get pushed back after all the necessary "stuff", but other things do. I don't know if it's guilt or lack of motivation, or attention span of gnat...but it happens.
    I wish you success with your personal trainer. I think you made another mention of her/him. Sounds like you've found a good match for your style. I think that's of prime importance.
    thanks for pointing me toward this post. I definitely am glad to have read it.
    You have 2 blogs? I'm totally not going to take on that guilt. One is keeping me hopping as it is.

  14. Great post. i especially loved the chalk board. I might have to try that one!
    See you at BYB (by the way i empathise with your feelings!)