5 things you shouldn’t feel guilty about

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5 things you shouldn't feel guilty about
Do you apologize all the time? Do you often hear yourself saying sorry when you give your opinion or speak up about something? In one of my previous blogs, I called this the ‘sorry syndrome’. Of course, it’s appropriate to apologize if you’ve made a mistake or hurt someone. But if you’re also saying sorry for other things, it’s interesting to explore why you’re doing that.

Do you avoid confrontation? Don’t want anyone else to get mad at you? By wrongly saying sorry you are covering yourself, as it were. Plus you’re sending the message that what follows after the sorry shouldn’t be there. In this blog, you can read the common things for which you unjustly apologize and why you can stop doing that now.

5 things you shouldn’t feel guilty about

1. For your needs and the choices you make

So often I hear around me of women apologizing for their needs or choices. You feel guilty when you need me-time, but your friends want you to go to a party. You say sorry for the fact that you would rather eat somewhere else because you don’t want to be ‘difficult’. You don’t want to be a burden to others. It could also be that you don’t want others to judge your choices and want to be liked by everyone.

If you recognize this, it is really time to listen to yourself and your needs. Perhaps you tend to ignore yourself and act as if your needs don’t matter. But they are there and the longer you push them away and don’t pronounce them, the more frustrated you become. There is a good chance that the other person will respect it if you indicate what you need.

2. Who you are for

5 things you shouldn't feel guilty about

Every person is unique with his/her own personality and natural characteristics. You may find it difficult to embrace yourself as you are and feel that you should be more like others. You quickly find yourself ‘too much’ and apologize if you feel you are taking up too much space. Or you are completely yourself when you are calm and serene, but feel pressure to be more outspoken. Because of this, you tend to say sorry for who you essentially are.

As beautiful as it can be that someone inspires you, you don’t have to compare yourself with someone else. You are allowed to be who you are instead of trying to be who you are not. Or who you think you should be. Free yourself from the cage you have imposed on yourself.

3. For things beyond your control

A lot of the things that happen on a daily basis are out of your control. Even though you may want to and think you have control over everything around you, that is really an illusion. You may be late for an appointment because you are stuck in traffic. Or do you have to cancel something because you are sick?

Of course, it can be annoying and this has a consequence, but as long as you can’t control it yourself, it’s not your fault. Instead of apologizing for this or wasting energy on feeling guilty, you can take responsibility and let the other person know what’s going on. In addition, you can examine yourself where the guilt comes from.

4. For the behavior of another

This is an important one and is linked to responsibility and shame. If you apologize for the behavior of another, you take the responsibility off your hands and you start to bear it. For example by saying that another person ‘cannot do anything about it’ or that ‘it is just the way it is’, if he or she shows behavior that is not okay. You then justify the behavior when it is not justified.

5 things you shouldn't feel guilty about

It is also possible that you are (unconsciously) ashamed of the behavior of your family or friends and therefore apologize for this. You are ashamed of your father’s outspoken opinion or of the clothes your sister is wearing and you are immediately touched when others think so. You are working on the other person’s business when it is not yours. You can also leave this to the other person because you are not responsible for this and have no influence on it.

5. For speaking your truth

Expressing what you think about something, how you feel or what you have experienced can evoke a feeling of vulnerability. Especially if you’re afraid of what others think. Does he or she still like you if you say that? Usually you have a lot of judgments about this yourself. You may feel guilty about your opinion and start covering it up. You say something like “sorry to say it, but….” or are not honest because you don’t want to hurt someone. Sometimes you feel that your truth shouldn’t be there because others don’t agree with you or don’t understand you.

Of course you don’t want to intentionally make someone feel bad and you can ask yourself if you need to speak up about something. But if you have the structural feeling that you cannot or do not dare to speak your truth, then you can do something with it. Your truth may be there, it is not at the expense of someone else. If someone else makes you feel like you should feel guilty about that, that’s a red flag. And a signal that you can be clear to yourself in guarding your yes and no’s.

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