Thursday, January 14, 2010

'I Have to', 'I Need to', 'I Should', 'I Ought to' and other forms of False Guilt

Somewhere in the middle of another sleepless night I started fixating on things I could do when the sun finally came up. A whirlwind of possibilities flowed freely around in my brain...fixing that piece of ugly jewelry, practicing that complex measure in my Sonata, going up to visit my mother, eating another chocolate chip cookie, cleaning the toilet in the guest room, calling a friend for lunch, writing on my blog... As important as all of these exciting options might be, I realized that many of them are not necessarily things that I really "want to" do, but things that I have to, need to, should or ought to do...although probably only in my brain.

I did a study on emotional fitness last year with some girlfriends, and we learned that most of us do things we every day largely out of false guilt. False guilt is a response to things and events in our lives that we take responsibility for when we are not actually at fault. Real guilt is the result of doing something wrong that hurts others, and unless you are a perpetual jerk, you should not constantly be in a state of real guilt.

So let's look at some the possibilities of things to do today and decide if I just "feel" guilty and should do it or if I am indeed just a self-centered jerk:

1) Clean the toilet - False Guilt: DUH!!! What person in their right mind likes to clean a toilet? Toilets don't have feelings and they have not been hurt by grime, so therefore, why feel guilty about leaving them to their own devices?

2) Call a friend for lunch - False Guilt: When was the last time she called you and invited you out? And didn't she make you pay???

3) Fix that ugly piece of jewelry - Real Guilt: You created it in the first place, so you have only yourself to blame. It will never be truly healed until you say you're sorry and give it a decent burial.

4) Practice that hard section in my Sonata - Both: It's Real Guilt because you haven't practiced in two days and False Guilt because you think your teacher will be furious with you if you come back again and still sound like a non-talented, fat-fingered idiot.

5) Writing on my blog - Neither: I don't feel guilty about this at all....who says you need to be dressed by 9:30??

6) Visiting my mother - Decline to State: I'm not Emotionally Fit yet.

7) Eat another chocolate chip cookie - Can't be Classified: Eating is a life function so how can there be any guilt at all?

So amongst all of these wonderful possibilities, I think I will eat another chocolate chip cookie and go see my Mom.

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Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate all those who share and leave their comments very much. Laurel

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