Archive for June, 2012

Look up the word guilt in the dictionary and it refers feelings that may be experienced when you commit a crime.  Psychologists suggest that the purpose of guilt is to help us recognise when we have done something wrong and change our behaviour or make amends.  I have committed no crime.  Despite this, almost daily I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and I don’t really know why.

Who is judging me? Probably myself.  I have a picture in my head of what a woman of my age should be doing, feeling, behaving.  I don’t really live up to any of these images therefore I constantly berate myself for not being good enough.  But where has this picture come from? Certainly the media – only the other day  watched an advert that featured a woman who was talking about doing 10 things at once like it was a an achievement. Why? Surely if she is doing so many things she is (a) not doing any of the things very well and more importantly (b) not enjoying any of the things.  Yet somehow this is seen as something to aspire to.

It can’t all come from the media though.  Therapists (and I’ve had a lot of therapy) would say that we are affected by what we are told throughout our childhood and if a message is repeated often enough then you will believe it.  I’m not sure I have been told anything that would cause me to feel guilty though: I certainly don’t remember it if I have.  What I do know is that I watched my mum blame my dad over and over for things that he couldn’t do when what I really wanted to do was defend him:  It wasn’t his fault; he was severely ill; why can’t she do more? why can’t she help him?  Instead I did nothing because deep down I knew that she was doing her best.  She was tired and worried.  This was not the life she had planned for.  She was letdown.  Maybe this is what makes me feel guilty.  I also remember thinking that this is not the way I want to live; when I grow up I’m going to do things differently yet now I am ‘grown up’, I find it’s not that easy. I can’t achieve the prefect life I have in my head.

I guess what needs to be kept in mind is that nobody is perfect.  Nobody can do everything right all the time  The picture that is in my head is a fairy tale and when I’m not up to these standards, I haven’t failed.  I don’t have to feel guilty all the time.

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