You may have set goals that sounded great when you wrote them down but didn’t realize that you’d actually feel guilty accomplishing them. An example is money. If you were to earn significantly more money than your family and friends, how would you respond when they commiserated about not having enough money to buy the things they wanted, things you could easily afford? Would you keep your mouth shut so no one would be jealous? Would you feel guilty that you have it and they don’t?
Or if your goal is to have a leisurely lifestyle on the beach, how would you respond when the people around you talked about how difficult their work life is. Would you feel a bit spoiled? Would you feel you should use your energy to make the world a better place? Would you feel you did’t have the right to lay around on the beach while others suffer? Would you fear being judged for being lazy?
One of my goals is to have 8 weeks of vacation a year. That sounds so luxurious and wonderful. This summer, during a 2-month period, we took 3 week-long vacations. I shared our fun on facebook and someone commented, “What’s up with all the vacations?”
I replied explaining that we had to take all our vacation time during those 2 months and that it was actually a hardship to be gone so much in such a short period of time, trying to balance all our responsibilities. Blah de blah, blah, blah. I felt guilty about taking that much vacation and had no idea I felt that way until I was questioned. There’s little chance I’ll accomplish my goal of having 8 weeks if I felt guilty taking three.
When you first set these goals, they sound so exciting. You may have no clue you’d feel guilty until you’re close to achieving them and start getting that sense. Or you may never know and not understand why you’re not accomplishing them.
One way to become aware of the potential of guilt is to look at people who have already achieved your goal. Do you judge wealthy people enjoying the spa as spoiled and self-centered? That’s a clue you wouldn’t feel comfortable achieving that goal.
If there are certain goals you’ve been trying to attain for a long time and feel like you’re hitting a glass ceiling, look inside and see if the potential for guilty is there. As long as it is, you’ll probably never achieve it. But if you identify the guilt and start working through those feelings, you’ll increase your chance of achieving it.
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