Contrary to what many people may feel, we are not the sum total of all the choices we’ve made in our lives. Because were that so it would mean that our lives are just one big litany of consequences, and we are much more than just the sum of those parts.
The fact is that we are the product of all the rationales we’ve accepted & used to make all those choices.
As you think, so you feel, so you do.
Which is why always doing your best to think through things very carefully & completely is invaluable.
A common rationale to validate feeling guilty is the wry justification that “It helps keep me honest.”
First off, no it doesn’t. On the contrary, it often makes a liar out of you, prompting you to make an off-the-cuff promise which you are not likely to keep.
Here’s how that works: When you make any promise from guilt, your brain considers the promise as disposable, like an emotional band-aid. So once it has served its purpose by temporarily assuaging your guilt, the “promise” is dismissed, forgotten, and not followed through on in action.
Second, you don’t need to rely on guilt to “keep you honest”. You’re far better off relying on your self-respect, which itself gets stronger every time you use it.
Simply put, guilt is a toxin, and a weapon of cowardice. So I recommend that you never rely on guilt to move or motivate yourself or anyone else. There is always a superior alternative.
Reject guilt, stay clean and cultivate your self-respect.
You actually have a lot more freedom than you think, because you have the freedom to believe whatever you want to believe.
Now, most people feel that this is inaccurate, because they tell themselves “I want to believe I can succeed & win., BUT I’m plagued by doubts that I can.” The truth is that if you’ve passively decided that ultimately you “can’t win”, it is because you find some form of SECURITY in holding that belief, regardless of how much you feel you want to win.
The Bottom Line: As long as you feel any SECURITY at all from holding on to negative beliefs, you will be hard-pressed to move forward and live your potential.
PS. Remember that clinging to feeling SECURITY doesn’t always feel particularly “good” or “comfortable”; in fact it most often has a tinge of “sacrifice” to it – for good reason too.
“I’m such a loser!” vs. “Suck it up!” This comparison illustrates the critical difference between self-pity and self-discipline. The former is toxic, the latter makes you powerful.
It is really quite simple: You never need be tough ON yourself, which means that attacking yourself is pointless. Doing so is just self-punishment, and there is never any benefit or value from it; it is simply a form of self-indulgence.
That said, make sure you don’t confuse self-punishment with what really does have benefit & value: Self-Discipline. Self-discipline means being strict & tough WITH yourself, not tough ON yourself.
Look, we can all use a kick in the pants from time to time. So when it’s your turn, remember to actively reject any inclination towards self-indulgence, and embrace self-discipline instead.
“Suck it up, buttercup!” And smile knowing that you’re gaining ground every time you do.
What it most often ends up as: The mutual exchange of inequities.
What it very seldom is: The optimal way to get more for all and less for none.
Consider: The “Next Best Thing” is in fact often a whole lot farther away from “The Best Thing” than you may think.
Here’s the simple logic as to why your own approval of yourself is really what counts.
Can anyone other that you truly know what really matters to you and what you want out of life? Nope.
Accordingly, your own approval of yourself should be a priority that eclipses anyone else’s approval of you.
Hidden Bonus: Gaining your own approval is the first critical step on the path to earning your own self-respect.
One big problem with Social & Family Obligation is that it preaches “invest in others!”.
While the spirit of this advice is laudable, it compels well-intentioned people to attempt to “invest” their time, energy & effort – their lives really – into others. Unfortunately, the common outcome eventually experienced is feelings of futility, disappointment, resentment or bitter regret from having spent their years investing in others at the expense of investing in themselves.
Why does this happen? Because people confuse contribution with investment. It is not possible to invest in another person – only yourself! E.g. When you give “help” to someone, it can be by default a wonderful contribution to their life, but it is not an investment. So consider what you generously gave as spent and have no expectation of a return on that spending. This is one reality of human nature.
In fact, the only way that helping anyone can ever truly result in any valuable return on your efforts at all is if & only if they themselves invest whatever you gave them into themselves; sadly this happens very rarely.
Bottom line: contributing to the lives of others is desirable because it is kindness, but you can really only invest in yourself. But when you take that responsibility you can expect ROI: valuable returns on that invested energy & effort. Go for it.