Guilt, you sneaky devil you!

If you were to ask me if I operated out of guilt, I would have said no way! I’m a pretty independent, thriving person. The only guilt I have would be the obvious of not visiting my mother often enough. But I would never have guessed my day-to-day decisions would have been influence by guilt. Not at all. Recently I have become more able to stand aside from it to recognize it—by shopping for dog food.

Guilt is harder to recognize than you might think. The good news is it’s almost relief to figure it out. Being recently unemployed I needed to downsize everything. My budget had to be totally redone. I can no longer afford to give to charity monthly. I cancelled photo websites, services, magazines and newspaper subscriptions. Everything non essential came off the grocery list. It was time to change from the very expensive dog food I was buying to something more reasonable.

Over and over we are told we are not a good parent if we get our pets anything cheap, or if we don’t buy them the latest doohickey. That’s B.S.! This sounds like small potatoes, but $36 savings is big. Bigger still is my new awareness of how sneaky guilt is as a driving force. I will know how to look for it in future. It slides right in there and manifests as a physical feeling in the core of my body. This insight lead me to other insights. The domino effect. That’s always a good thing when change begets change.

When it comes to my dogs, sky’s the limit. But I could no longer afford the best food. I won’t feed my dogs cheap grocery store food either, as some brands are harmful. As I went shopping for different dog food with my new out-of-work budget, I did my homework on different brands. I bought a brand that is grain free, highly rated, but affordable. I’m totally happy with the switch. It was as large a bag as my old brand, and almost $18 cheaper! That’s almost $36 a month savings, and the dogs love it.

It occurred to me that I don’t have to give them the very best brand. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but I realized in a flash as I drove home it was guilt that drove me to do what the commercial world tells me is best for my pet. Guilt! Such a sneaky thing I didn’t even realize that was the driving force. I was so shocked to realize the expensive dog food I was buying for years was a guilt based action. Me? Really? Hmmmm. I would have sworn on a stack of bibles that I was not driven in any way by guilt.

After the dog food shopping incident, I realized in a flash the feelings of losing my horse Silver were also mostly guilt based. It struck me like lightning. I though I was the reason he left. Maybe I had not kept his water clean enough for him to drink? What did I do wrong? And why was I punishing myself with pain and guilt all this time? I couldn’t even think of my horse without getting a lump in my throat. I realized that was not just sorrow, but guilt as the driving force. It was so freeing to realize I was not the reason my horse died. In an instant I was able to release my feelings of Silver and let him go. Guilt is terrible at helping you punish yourself needlessly. It’s freeing to be rid of those feelings.

If in doubt, ask yourself what you do out of guilt. Trying to please others too much is guilt based. I’ve been a big people pleaser for many years, and overly so. Think doormat. That mindset is one of almost pure guilt married with trying too hard to be accepted. If the guilt involves your parents or kids, I assume there is going to be some guilt there that may be normal. That’s not what I’m talking about. Doing what we feel invisibly pushed to do can be out of a sense of guilt. It sneaks under the radar. My experience shopping for dog food taught me it can be there, subtly, in the background, driving daily decisions.

Try and find where you might be experiencing guilt as a subtle driving force, and kick it out of your life. Begin to recognize those vibes and pay attention to what really drives you to act.

Comments are welcome. “Likes” tell me someone is listening. Love and Light, ❤ Patty

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