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Are You Trapped by That Guilty Feeling

Women are their own worst enemies, it is felt. Setting up high expectations and never-ending commitments do not help.

Whether you are working or not, married or not, parent or not, if you are a woman, chances are, you are a highly organised planner capable of executing to perfection.

The Incredibles

As highly self-driven individuals with a compulsive need to feel accomplished in every sphere of life, women are fiercely ambitious and that’s why they yearn for sanity in chaos. That is to say they want a high-flying career with a blooming home, a sense of balance while they stretch out to achieve their everyday goals and the best approach to it all. 

These ambitions aren’t unfounded, as women get much done in little time with all their effort. They don’t juggle, that is a rather loose term for such proficiency. They simultaneously invest in multiple and highly diversified tasks   

Oops! Forgot to Feel Guilty

The flip side of this compulsive need to be their 100 per cent everywhere, however, often translates into guilt. Women induce a lot of guilt into their system every single day, be it for working too hard and wanting to be at work even longer or not wanting to be a working professional in today’s world.

We can end up feeling guilty about missing our fitness goals or being lazy or not being a domestic goddess at home or a shark at the workplace. It doesn’t take a crime to make women feel guilty as charged, on most occasions it is something as trivial as what you carelessly ate this morning to how the tone of your voice was too loud for your own liking.  

The Spanish Journal Of Psychology has concluded in a study that the intensity and tendency to experience habitual guilt is significantly higher for women compared to men and this is true across adolescents, young women and adults, particularly those between 40-50 years.

Studies indicate that women constantly worry about not being able to “do their share” while they go about their day.

This guilt they induce into their system every day, eats into a big piece of their self-worth. I meet so many of my girl friends who are fiercely independent and firm on their feet but who often succumb to this guilt of choices.

Are you sorry for not being sorry?

They are so good in their art or talent as well as in their run of the mill work that it’s almost intimidating and yet when you speak to them you find them talking of how those choices made them lose out on a role they would have loved to adorn, even if they already wear a thousand hats. Women tend to feel guilty for just wanting to have their life their way, even if it is for a few hours. 

The good news is that while there is divided research on the subject vast bodies of research also suggest that guilt is a conditioned emotion which means that we have an opportunity to break this stereotypical web of expectations that we carry in our own head.

The way women have been socialised into being a “complete woman” and always “doing her fair share” have largely contributed to them feeling guilty about being absent from home or doing fewer household chores, being loud or brash, being aggressive and the list goes on.

This conditioning comes from family, friends, teachers and the general set of rules that are acceptable in our culture.

Among the many revolutions of our times, we need to amplify the one where we get women to talk about and accept the many guilt pangs they carry with themselves and help them recognise themselves as individuals who have unique preferences, who have limitations and fall into the so called “normal” range of acceptable and desired behaviour even while they deviate from the conventional norms and standards that have been set for women over the years.

Once we achieve some success on this front with ourselves then we could focus on getting the menfolk to up the ante and enhance their sensitivity and proficiency across all chores that are done in a set up called home.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- Marcus Aurelius

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