#TBT: Stop Guilt Tripping and Start Traveling Baggage Free
GUILT TRIPS ARE NOT REALLY MY THING.
I think they're an acquired taste that i'll probably never acquire.
GUILT TRIPPING IS A TRIP. AND NOT THE KIND WITH CLEAR SKIES AND REFRESHING COCONUT DRINKS AND SUN-KISSED CHEEKS. IT'S NOT THAT KIND AT ALL. IT'S THE KIND OF TRIP THAT HAS YOU CONFUSED AND FRUSTRATED AND LOST AND STUCK AND LOSING SLEEP. GUILT IS A TRIPPY EMOTION BECAUSE IT HAS US BELIEVING that all of our remorse and agony is getting us somewhere WHEN, IN REALITY, WE STAY STUCK right where we're at...TRIPPING ALL OVER OURSELVES.
guilt tripping is a choice. and i'd rather drink my coconut on the beach than fall flat on my face any day. we don't have to feel guilty. we have options. there are ways around feeling this way, and these alternatives are certainly more productive than carrying around this emotional dead weight while we're trying to reach new heights.
I like to travel. to reach new heights. figuratively and literally and figuratively and literally simultaneously. i like when my mind wanders. i like when i hop on a plane and leave everything behind. and i like letting my mind wander as i hop on planes and leave everything behind. put simply, i like to be free (shouts out again to the be free show!).
anyway, I like to feel like i have beautiful, powerful wings that i can use to fly whenever i feel like it. i also like to feel like i can put my wings to rest and stay grounded, but i don't like being forced to the ground because i'm being weighed down by something.
GUILT CLIPS OUR WINGS. IT TAKES OUR AUTONOMY AWAY FROM US. IT FORCES US TO STAY DOWN.
it is one of the most passive emotions i know.
if this is your first #roadtorima post, you are probably wondering if i'm heartless. if you know me, you're probably confused because you know good and well that i'm not. but either way you're probably thinking: you must feel bad about something? you must have at least one regret? surely, if you could go back, you would change some things? right?
yes. yes. and absolutely.
BUT I STILL DON'T FEEL GUILT.
WHY? BECAUSE THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GUILT AND ACCOUNTABILITY.
I AM A DEEPLY ACCOUNTABLE PERSON. I am extremely loyal to people, values and morals. but i am also human. my actions and behaviors do not always do right by these people; my values aren't always reflected in my decisions; and my moral compass is not 100% accurate. even when i set all intentions to do the right thing, the fact is that i will make mistakes every single day.
so i hold myself accountable. i feel bad. i might cry (i do that a lot). more likely than not, i apologize immediately. i reflect. i check myself.I CHANGE MY BEHAVIORS IMMEDIATELY.
but i still don't feel guilty.
feeling bad about a situation and feeling guilty are two different things. the way i see it, guilt is a cop-out.
guilt forces us down. it punishes us by telling us to carry overweight baggage while we're trying to travel and reach new heights. we feel like carrying this emotional baggage is our way of repenting our sins or righting our wrongs. we feel like the longer we carry this baggage, the more we've forced ourselves to confront the issue at hand. the heavier the load, the more redemptive the process.
IT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE.
think about it. if we are forcing ourselves to carry this heavy baggage, we are preventing ourselves from elevating, from reaching new heights, from being who we are destined to be. we are forcing ourselves to be weighed down by emotional baggage. we claim this overweight baggage because we're scared to check these bags once and for all. we feel like if we check the bags for good, we haven't faced the consequences of our misaligned or unjust actions.
IT'S SIMPLY NOT TRUE.
i'm not saying we should never experience feelings of guilt. i'm saying that, when we do, we should immediately check our baggage (i.e. work through our guilty feelings). when we check our bags and refuse to reclaim them, we are giving ourselves space to actually deal with the issue. we cannot properly deal with the issue as long as guilt is at play.
guilt is passive. guilt paralyzes us. it keeps us stuck in the past. it taunts us and convinces us that we will forever be the person we are feeling guilty for being. it prevents us from reaching new heights and using our elevation to better the world around us. looking at it this way, we can definitely make the argument that guilt is a selfish and self-centered emotion.
AND NO I'M NOT TRYING TO SAY WE SHOULD FEEL GUILTY FOR FEELING GUILTY.
I'M MAKING THE CASE FOR ACCOUNTABILITY.
while guilt is one of the most passive emotions we can feel after we've done wrong, accountability is the most active way to deal with our wrongdoings.
accountability may not be a natural feeling for many of us, but it's a short pivot or half-step away from guilt. but before we discuss how to start feeling accountable, i want to discuss the reasons why many of us struggle with accountability. ironically, we struggle holding ourselves accountable to become better people because our guilt has us paralyzed into thinking we are horrible or [insert negative/critical adjective] people because of [insert whatever it is we believe we did wrong].
we are unable to hold ourselves accountable because we are too busy looking at ourselves through this shattered mirror and stressing over how much we hate what we see.
this is why a lot of us struggle with apologizing, doing the right thing or allowing negative situations to change for the better. we do not believe in our ability to do so. our guilt has us living in the past - how could we possibly assess our present accurately, let alone make plans to be better in the future? we are stuck, and all of this negativity and self-deprecation makes it nearly impossible for us to envision or make moves towards a better "self."
READY TO DITCH THE GUILT YET?
as soon as we set it as an intention, it's honestly not that difficult. the moment we find ourselves feeling guilty after whatever it is that has us feeling this way, we must immediately prompt ourselves to feel accountable instead.
rather than internalizing messages like: "i can't believe i did that," "i am such a horrible person for that," or "i'll never stop letting people down" we must immediately change our thoughts to: "how can i make sure i never do that again" or "i am not that person, so how can i make sure I never behave as that person again?" or "there seems to be a pattern with my lack of dependability. how can i start becoming more dependable?"
in order to make this pivot, we must check our baggage. period.
we seriously cannot move forward unless we decide to tuck away the feelings of guilt and refocus our energies on doing better and being better (holding ourselves accountable) learning from our wrongdoings and committing immediately to implementing those lessons is the only way we can become better people. let's commit to checking the bags and creating capacity for us to ask the questions we are supposed to be asking.
and let's also commit to being more gentle with ourselves as we work to become better people (because accountability requires empathy). there is no sense in hating ourselves or speaking negativity on our process. we should instead be proud that we are loving ourselves through this change, that we decided to hold ourselves accountable to doing so. we want to do better and be better? then we must be about it, not merely "feel" about it. and we can't be about it with baggage weighing us down.
accountability is a selfless, purpose-driven emotion; it make us better for us and for the world around us.
IF NOT FOR OUR SAKE (ALTHOUGH I HOPE WE CAN DO IT FOR OURSELVES), WE MUST DITCH THE GUILT TO HELP US BE BETTER FOR OTHERS.