Guilt has been on my mind recently. The use of it, the acceptance of it, you name it, and I've come to some conclusions.
Let's begin from the very beginning, shall we? Someone attempts to lay it on you. Keyword, attempts.
Remember, unlike a virus, you have a choice whether or not you wish to "grab on" and get taken for a ride. I believe we forget that part.
In the past, I could have been an Olympic gold medalist for how quickly I would "grab the baton" (guilt) and run with it. 'Nuf said. That's no longer the case, I assure you.
What's changed and how might you consider doing the same next time someone looks to send you on a guilt trip? Do tell!
Once I realize that a "trip" has been offered, I do two things. First, I remember that what's being said is not personal, it's all around their "stuff." Mind you, this first part can take a bit longer than I would like but eventually, after the initial "what the heck" moments are over, I'm back in that peace-providing space of "don't take anything personally." (Thank you, "The Four Agreements.")
Second, I begin to question my thoughts...I'll get to that part in a moment, for now, let's begin with an example. Someone tries to make you feel bad for choosing not to go to dinner with the book club. Maybe they're even a bit harsh when sharing their opinion about your choice.
Enter rumination. You know? You begin thinking how rude the delivery was, then you build evidence to support your decision not to go - only to be thwarted by thoughts of how you can prove why you declined the invitation via social media, (say a pic or check-in of your doing that "other thing") or what you might say next time you see them, all in an attempt to justify your decision etc. Sound familiar?
Here's where questioning my thoughts comes in. There's no need to build a case as to why I'm "right" in my decision. It was my decision. End of story. And if I'm good with it, that's enough.
Maybe you aren't fond of the way the group drinks to excess, gets a little too raunchy or you experienced a falling out with a member recently and wish to invoke the "grace of space." No matter, you are completely justified in not accepting the invite to take a "trip."
Finally, if you start thinking about ways to "justify" your decision, ask yourself this question. "What is my motivation for doing that?"
Back to our example, you start to waffle on your decision to blow dinner off. You begin talking to yourself saying "It won't be THAT bad.", "I'll just leave early.", "I don't have to sit by her." BOOM! What's your motivation? Is it because you really have had a change of heart and want to go OR is it because you feel guilty and you are going to appease them?
BIG difference! For all involved.
So! Let's summarize this potential va-cay from Hades...
One - After any fuming or any self-righteous behaviors, remember, nothing people do is personal. It's all their stuff delightfully being shared with you. Good times! ;)
Two - Question your thoughts. If you are prone to falling for those easily offered up "guilt trips", giving your thoughts a little heck is a good thing. Don't just fall prey to what your head has to say. Get that fight on! You got this!
Three - If you start to waiver on your original decision, ask yourself what your TRUE motivation is for doing whatever it is you are thinking of doing. Is it pure and in the end what you truly want to do or are you trying to people please. Is your motivation good for you or only good for them? Right!
See you next fall?
Oh! The trip can be offered.
I may even stumble, but fall?
I think not.
A beautiful thing.