I tend to do it myself. I feel guilty, constantly.
I had a great conversation with an unexpected source recently; I will admit (shamefully) that up until a year ago I did not realize that this woman had any depth to her. I wrote her off as a beautiful woman with no substance nor intelligence. After listening to her countless cries of attention through dieting tips, conquest stories, and her endless grooming I found myself speaking about an author series that I was attending. And the unexpected happened. She knew exactly who I was speaking of and she asked if she could be my +1. This was over a year ago and I still feel stupid, rude, and naive for judging her exactly as I have been unfairly judged.
Recently we had a follow up conversation about growing up in Boyle Heights, in East LA, in Westlake… Growing up as an attractive female with 0 self-esteem and what that brought down on us but in a more insightful slant – the root of what our reactions were stemmed to. As she described what she went through: feelings of rejection, judgement, constant criticism from adults as a child (bullies); I began to understand more of what I felt, of what I did, of who I was, as I heard her tell her stories.
She is an incredibly striking woman with piercing green eyes and a hell of a personality and yet she had soft heart, a vulnerability that her surroundings did not respect, much less notice. She is extremely intelligent, observant, and insightful – yet she receives no credit or acknowledgement for her innate gifts, qualities that she has retained despite her challenges. She lives life thinking she is wrong, misunderstood, defective…
As I heard of what she witnessed as a child, of what she went through growing up, of what was unsaid but I could so palpably feel it that I could practically hold it with my fingertips…I understood her pain. A pain that is so deeply rooted that it takes a hell of a strong person to face it in order to start healing; facing it means accepting that you were unloved, overcoming it means knowing that you are not un-loveable. I saw this in her. I heard it in the crack of her voice as she tried to remain composed and to the naked eye she was – fine. She was perfectly fine. But I was there; I knew better.
As she unfolded her worries before me I found the common theme of Guilt. Guilt pervades all those who have succeeded in improving their lot in life while still being surrounded by negative influences.
But it made me Angry. Angry that life could be so cruel to her (and countless of you lovely women and men) and still invade her being with a sense that she did not deserve to find inner peace whilst her family was still in such a state of disarray.
It really upset me because I constantly feel that way. Guilty. Guilty when a guy wants to pay for dinner. Guilty when my career is taking off. Guilty when my children are doing well in school. Guilty when I am spending money on myself. Guilty when I am spending money on extracurricular activities for my kids instead of funneling it elsewhere. Guilty when I want to for once, get taken care of. When for once I would like to relax and feel vulnerable, and feel like a woman who wants to be shielded from worldly problems. I want to know what it feels like to be sheltered. I want to feel like what it feels to be taken care of without having to feel like I have to be the strong independent woman I have always been.
I love who I am. But just because I am strong does not mean that I am not soft as well. I am strong and independent because there is no other way nor any other choice for me. If not me then whom? Who would step up to be the head of the household in my life? No one.
So I remind myself not to feel guilty. I deserve happiness. I realize I will never have a childhood again where I can hope to feel cared for in that manner but I do some day want to feel the sense of comfort of knowing that I can rely on someone – completely. And I will not feel guilty because I would care for that person right back.
So stop feeling guilty.
Stop over thinking your future. Life is life and it will continue to happen whether you allow it to or not, whether you plan for it or not. Be the strong person that you are but give yourself merits for what you have overcome and what you have worked out for yourself. You are incredible, special, and beautiful. Anyone would be lucky to have you. Why? Because you have chosen to embrace life regardless of what it dealt you early on and you DESERVE to expect happiness. It’s a good reminder for us all.
Stop feeling guilty.