Divorce Women Stop The Guilt

Things Women Need To Stop Feeling Guilty About

 

It's human nature to feel bad if you think that you let someone down or made them upset. But guilt isn’t something we’re supposed to wallow in for long.  For the longest time women have been made to feel guilty or shameful in everyday situations. 

 

We are made to overthink and underplay almost every aspect of the way we live.  From being too assertive to being too nice, society has a way of making us feel like everything we do is wrong.

The frequent use of the word "sorry" comes from a deeply rooted fear of being an inconvenience to anyone.  In other words, it comes from guilt. It is not only self-defeating but also self-denying.

Countless women express feelings of shame over not meeting social expectations when it comes to their careers, looks, relationships, opinions—the list goes on and on. We shame ourselves for not working out enough, not putting the “right” food in our bodies, wearing too much makeup, wearing no makeup and a barrage of other negative thoughts.

 

Is guilt healthy or unhealthy? It can be either or both. Healthy feelings of guilt motivate you to live according to your authentic values, which, in turn, can improve your relationships with others, since you are more likely to treat them with respect and do your fair share. 

 

However, unnecessary or excessive feelings of guilt can also be a psychological burden that interferes with your emotions and quality of life.

 

Here are just a few of the things women should absolutely stop feeling guilty about. While feeling guilty is almost second-nature, you can tame it with self-awareness.  From wearing makeup to saying no, here is a list of things that should never make women feel guilty.

STANDING UP FOR YOURSELF

Women often feel as if they can't be assertive in the workplace, or even at home, at the risk of being called rude or aggressive. It might be as simple as feeling they sounded too mean or reactionary to someone when they simply expressed an opinion.  

 

Everyone deserves to own their feelings and be their own person, and sometimes that means saying what you think and not apologizing for it.

 

TAKING CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Over the past several years, the stigma around mental health and going to therapy has slowly started to change, but it's not quite where it should be.

Taking care of your own mental health and well-being is and should be a top priority. The only way to change this stigma is to unapologetically take care of YOU.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS

When it comes to marriage, kids, and owning a house, society seems to have a weirdly strict timeline. Those in relationships get judged for not spending enough time with family and friends. Those who embrace being single get judged for not having a partner. 

 

It doesn't matter what age you do any of these things because it is your life and you deserve to live it on the schedule that works for you.  At the end of the day, what matters most is that you spend time with people who you care about.

 

SAYING NO

As born and raised people pleasers, women in general have a hard time saying no, even if the situation or issue isn’t a positive use of their time.  Saying no to things you don't want to do is empowering since it frees up your time and allows you to focus on what matters most to you. 

Saying no allows you to do a better job on the things that you say yes to.

 

It isn’t selfish to say no; in fact, it can often be a form of self-care and we should be doing more of it.  

 

ASKING FOR HELP

Society puts unfair pressure on women to be clean and orderly at all times. Sometimes asking for help is what makes us human. We can’t be expected to cook, clean, take care of children, and nurture relationships while also being career-driven, independent women. 

 

We deserve to ask for assistance without feeling judged or guilt-ridden. It's okay to cut yourself slack when you don't have the time or energy to finish all of your chores.  It’s also okay to acknowledge that you are not an expert in everything. So bring in the experts sometimes.

 

BEING EMOTIONAL

Emotional control can leave you with more inner peace, but it is okay to express strong feelings. The ups and downs of our emotions are a part of everyday life, and expressing our thoughts and feelings are the key to living a happy life.  

 

So to anyone who thinks women are too emotional—we say yes! After a bad week, nothing feels more cathartic than a healthy scream or a good cry.

 

ENTERTAINMENT THAT YOU ENJOY

Watching romantic comedies and reading fashion magazines, which are niches in media sometimes deemed as regressive or trivial, is an incredible way to forget about your own problems and just enjoy some made-up drama. Or maybe it’s taking an auto repair class, or doing jigsaw puzzles.

 

It's perfectly fine to embrace the entertainment that brings you joy without worrying about how it is perceived, as long as you think critically about what you're consuming. Even too much broccoli can be bad for you.

ASKING FOR MORE

Sometimes, we take on a lot in our relationships and career. When this happens, we need to be guilt-free about asking for more.  Demand the time, dedication, or money that you need to get things done.

TREATING YOURSELF

Take yourself out for a fancy dinner, revel in a relaxing spa day, or go out and buy yourself that thing you thought you didn’t deserve, because sometimes a little self-indulgence is exactly what you need.

 

MAKING MISTAKES

Although everyone knows that all humans make mistakes, it can feel as though women are expected to be above this common cliché. Making mistakes can be costly and feel disappointing, but they're formative for your growth as a professional and as a person. 

 

In fact, even though mistakes are okay, from an expert, here are 4 major mistakes to avoid during divorce.

KNOWING YOUR WORTH

Asking for a raise can be an incredibly awkward and stressful experience, but knowing your value at a company or when working with clients can free you from doing work that might be barring you from better opportunities.

 

If you are prone to feeling the unhealthy kind of guilt in which you are always beating yourself up for not doing enough, use the tips and tools below to set yourself free.  It takes a lot of practice and deliberate re-thinking to change an entrenched pattern of guilt, so be patient with yourself. 

 

Here are expert-recommended tactics for how to stop feeling guilty.

 

  • Differentiate between guilt and feeling badly

You shouldn’t feel guilty if you acted appropriately, but your actions upset someone anyway. Recognize that there’s a difference between feeling badly for someone hurting and feeling guilty for hurting someone.

 

  • Figure out what you really want

It’s tough to ever feel like you’ve succeeded if you don’t have a specific goal to meet.  

 

For example, you might not feel like a good enough parent if you’re not able to get to all of your kid’s soccer games.  Maybe if your goal is to attend several games a month, and you were able to attend two out of four games a month, then it would be easier to plan for those two times, and you wouldn’t feel guilty about not being able to make it to all of them. 

 

Redirect your actions and behaviors. If you’re guilty about something, engage in positive thoughts and actions.  

 

  • Stop making it about you

Sometimes the thing you’re feeling guilty about doesn’t actually bother the other person at all. So before you waste more time and energy fretting over the situation, have a chat with the person you think you’ve wronged.

  • Reframe your guilt as gratitude

Holding onto guilt keeps you stuck on negative things that happened in the past. Focusing on what you’re grateful for takes your mind out of the muck. This kind of thinking slowly encourages you to work towards your goal, builds confidence, and increases the expression of positive emotions.

 

  • Show compassion

Next time you notice someone make a mistake, resist the urge to be critical—even if it's just to yourself—and show some compassion instead. This type of thinking creates a habit of compassion and understanding and makes it more difficult to self-blame.

 

  • Become an observer

Become a benign self-observer and simply notice when you start feeling guilty and critical of yourself. Don’t try to change anything—just observe without judgment. This is the first giant step to changing towards positive thinking.

 

  • Think of how you'd treat a friend

When you find yourself awash with guilt, think about what you’d tell someone you care about. You’d probably reassure her that she’s doing great, that mistakes don’t define her, that she’s doing her best and that’s good enough. Now, try the same kind of pep talk on yourself.

  • Appreciate yourself and all that you do

Write a “self-gratitude” diary at the end of every day, noting at least three things you did that day that furthered your goals or helped someone you care about. Force yourself to focus on your accomplishments.

 

  • Look for the emotions underneath the guilt

Over time, your guilt and inner conflict may actually be masking other feelings like anger, intimidation, or resentment.

 

  • Decide how much you're willing and able to do

For example, if you can't do all the housework in the evening, decide which pieces you can commit to doing. Then communicate this willingness to your partner in a proactive way.

Stop Feeling Guilty

 

We can say that the messages women are taught from a young age need to be more well-rounded and less tied to our traditional place in society. It comes down to believing and embracing the fact that we're more than the sum of our societal demands. 

 

We are not perfect people. It's about living life unapologetically.  It's about owning your choices. There isn't a one-size-fits-all life for a woman. Let's stop feeling guilty for our choices, and let’s stop comparing ourselves to others. We are not seeing the full picture when we look at others.  We are only seeing the parts they reveal.

 

Contemplating Or Going Through Divorce?  Get Some Help

 

Divorce is stressful. And divorce evokes huge guilt. And you are not an expert in everything divorce-related.  Seek some help from a professional you trust and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

 

This is a big decision and something that could seriously impact your loved ones down the road. If you need further information, please contact Kimberly Surber, a certified divorce financial planner, to schedule your free, confidential consultation at 907-347-3860 or email at divorce@kimberlysurber.com.

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This information is not intended to be a substitute for seeking legal advice from an attorney. For legal or tax advice please seek the services of a qualified attorney and/or qualified tax professional.

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