7 Things It's OK Not To Feel Guilty About
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Health and Wellness

7 Things It's OK Not To Feel Guilty About

Stop making yourself feel bad when you don't actually feel bad.

7 Things It's OK Not To Feel Guilty About
Cheat Sheet

Somewhere along the road, we conditioned ourselves to feel bad about a lot of really silly things. We apologize for things we don't need to apologize for and ultimately just make it a lot harder on ourselves to be happy and feel good, because we are worried about being judged by other people. Here is a list of things I've noticed people (including myself) are guilty (haha) of unnecessarily apologizing for.

1. Being emotional.

One day I'll go through all my writing and count exactly how many times I reiterate this, but here's one more for the books: You don't need to be sorry for having feelings! You are a human being; we are built to have strong emotions and to express them, especially to other people. You don't need to feel guilty for crying about something that upsets you, you don't need to feel guilty for being upset with someone who legitimately wronged you, you don't need to feel guilty because someone says your emotions are making them uncomfortable. Your feelings are your feelings and no one has the right to tell you whatever emotion you're feeling is wrong and invalidate you. It's how you react to these feelings that is important.

2. Making your needs clear.

I don't think I know a single person who has always been able to say exactly what they need from someone else without feeling like a nuisance. You have a right to your basic needs. You have a right to tell someone who is mistreating you that their behavior isn't OK. It's a lot easier to be happy when you're getting what you need out of life and not letting people take things away from you. This is an especially hard one since we are all taught as children not to be a nuisance, but there is a vast difference between being a pain and being picky than asking to be treated like a human being.

3. Being happy.

Let me be clear: You do not need to feel guilty or upset because someone else feels upset.It's one thing to sympathize with a friend having a bad day, but it's a completely different thing for them to purposefully do things in order to make you feel just as bad as they do, or make you feel guilty because you're feeling great and that makes them envious. You are allowed to be happy and take joy from the things in your life. As long as you aren't being a jerk about it and bragging or throwing it in people's faces, they don't have any right to try and bring you down to their level. If you have a friend, family member, or partner that is doing this to you (especially on a regular basis), that is an abusive behavior and is not healthy. Examine your relationship and seek help if you or someone you know is being abused.

4. Taking time to be alone.

Everyone needs a mental health day every once in a while. What you do on those days is up to you, but for a lot of people, it's a day to just be alone -- to relax with a book or movies, to not think about the rest of the world for a few hours, and to make yourself slow down. This is something you should never feel guilty about. It is so important to take a break every now and again and do some self care. Just because your friends want to go out to dinner, or you should probably do the dishes, or you just didn't want to make plans even though you're technically 'not doing anything,' doesn't mean you have to feel guilty. You don't have to feel bad about saying no to plans with friends when being social is exhausting and you just need a break. It's perfectly acceptable to make plans to not do anything and to stick too them if that's what your body and mental state need to recharge. I'm always way more upbeat and productive right after taking some time to be alone because it helps me de-stress and slows the world down, making it seem infinitely more manageable.

5. Putting yourself first.

This kind of ties in with the last two, but I felt it was important enough to mention on its own. The person you need to take care of first and foremost is yourself. You can't do a good job at anything if you aren't keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy. Well, you can. but it will be painful, overwhelming, and unhealthy for you to keep up that pattern for a long period of time. Say no to things you can't handle or that make you uncomfortable, and say yes to things that make you happy. Just because you tell someone you can't help them with whatever they need doesn't make you a bad person at all! You are not obligated to help with every little thing people throw at you, especially if it's an unreasonable request. Saying 'no' is hard, but there are times when you'll feel so much better having said no.

6. Not reciprocating feelings.

Which brings us to our next point! Someone having feelings for you does not make you obligated to reciprocate these feelings or feel guilty because you don't. You don't have to be someone's friend if you know they aren't a good person or they make you uncomfortable. It is OK to not want to associate yourself with particular people. Say no to dates unless you actually want to go on the date; don't give out your phone number if you don't want someone to have it. I know how hard it is to turn people down or disassociate yourself from them, but it's so good for you to only surround yourself with people you truly want in your life. Oh, and if you don't want to express why you don't want to be around someone or why you won't go out with them, don't. You are not obligated to give someone a reason why you aren't interested in them because you do not owe anyone anything. You do not owe anyone anything. Be that your time, money, friendship, or body, only you get to make those decisions, and it's OK for the reasoning to be private.

7. Moving on.

We're all going to have a few break-ups in our lifetime; it's kind of inevitable. Whether you break up with someone or you're being broken up with, sometimes the hardest part of it all is moving on. This, I believe, is more common when you are initiating the split, because that usually involves hurting someone else, so the natural instinct is to feel guilty. Even more so when your realize you are happier outside the relationship that was causing you stress, and again even more when you start to move on from that relationship and are ready to open yourself up to new ones. But you don't have to feel guilty for being ready to move on. There's no defined time period in which you need to feel like crap before it's OK to get back out there or to be happy again. Healing from a break-up is different for everyone, and you are allowed to move on whenever you're truly ready to.

These are things that most people have struggled with at one point or another. I certainly have. Heck, I'm dealing with one or two of them right now. It's important to remember that you're a human being with valid feelings and wants and needs, and you don't ever need to feel bad about that. Just make sure you doing you isn't infringing on anyone else's happiness!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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