Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Affliction of False Guilt

Did I ever mention how guilty I feel when I have been sitting in the recliner most of the day?  It may not hit me early in the day;  but as the day progresses, I start feeling a bit uneasy, especially if there is any clutter nearby.  Even though I am there because I am extremely fatigued or in more pain than usual, I feel like I should have done more.  I have a hard time shaking this.  I felt that way tonight, because I could still see a lot of clutter in my living room.

I am supposed to be writing you to encourage you, and I am telling you something that has a negative tone to it.  However, I am not telling you about my little guilt complex to say you should feel that way.  On the contrary, my negativity is a peace annihilator.  Negative thoughts afflict us.  These negative thoughts pull us down, sucking away the feelings of accomplishment we have for the good things we do. 

My Negative to Positive Thought
Negative Thought 
I feel guilty because sat in the recliner today, and I did not pick up the clutter in the living room.
Positive Response
I could not have walked around the house today without aggravating my hip and joint pain--sometimes, I just have to give it a rest. 

I did do important things today.  Here are some of them:  alternated ice and heat on my hip and back; checked my emails and answered those that needed an answer; talked to my husband, talked on the telephone with 2 granddaughters and 1 daughter; made a salad for lunch; made a short grocery list for my husband; cooked a vegetable for supper and reheated another one, which I mashed and enhanced with spices; shredded chicken into smaller pieces and mixed with rice (for our dog who was sick yesterday);  I prayed about writing a devotional (what to write) and did some web surfing on scriptures for inspiration; and I am writing my blog.  And I haven't even listed the small things I needed to do; because most people go through their day, not noting the necessity of seemingly inconsequential actions, which are actually important.  I did all these things, and I felt like I had wasted my day.  That is the lie my mind told me. I saw the clutter and I did not recognize the lie--not until I had written it down, did I completely realize the bologna I was swallowing earlier.

When I harbor false guilt, it brings confusion.  It makes me second guess myself and criticize myself.  It can also be bred from the perfectionism that was stuck in my brain for so long.  It's not bad to have goals, but berating myself has never helped me to reach them.  If I use today for a typical example, I know I can apply a couple of drive-by cleanings tonight, clean a hot spot for 2 minutes, or spend 5 minutes picking up. I am going to go for something that is directly in my line of vision when I sit in my recliner.  OK.  I have a plan.  I will apply.  Now, that is success--a job well done! 

I hope this helps you, my readers.  My hope is you will see that you are not the only one that gets negative thoughts about yourself.  And I hope this little walk-through of parts of my day is helpful. One of the things I see is that kowtowing to false guilt is wasteful.  It wastes my time, my energy, and my peace.  If I wallow in false guilt long enough, I end up with a messier house and depression.  I am thankful I am learning to live more simply; and, I am thankful I feel more peace in my life. 

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah