Have you ever wanted something for yourself, and then felt guilty about wanting it?
could be an interest, a goal, a dream, a win, or just about anything.
It's common to want something and to experience guilt or fears of
backlash about it. You might even wonder whether life will somehow
punish you for following your dreams.
The guilt and fear can snowball
into a superstitious belief that going for what you want is taboo and
dangerous. Sound familiar? Let's look at this guilt in an open light.
First off, what is guilt?
is one word, but it can have many different shades of meaning. The
dictionary describes guilt as: "The fact of having committed a
specified or implied offense or crime." The dictionary says that when
you do something wrong, or someone else claims you've done something
wrong---you feel guilty about it. In fact, there are many other triggers
of guilt that have nothing to do with wrong-doing. Guilt can actually
come from right-doing.
Guilt can result from wanting to do something right---by
going for what you want in life! We're universally taught that certain
dreams are acceptable to strive for in life. It often includes a family,
a house, an occupation, a cat and a dog. These desires are definitely
important to the extent that you want them, but they are not all that
life's made out of. Each individual has unique wants and dreams outside
of this picture. What are yours?
It's challenging to go after what
you uniquely want, the things that no one else around you is striving
for. Thoughts can pop up such as, "What will other people think about this?" or "Am I doing something wrong by going for this?" You might fear that you won't belong anymore if you set off confidently in pursuit of your dreams.
You may also have second thoughts such as: "Am I imagining the importance of wanting this?" or "Am I on the wrong track and hurting others by selfishly wanting this in my life?"
The guilt can reach so far as to imply to you: "I'm a bad person." or "I'm crazy for wanting this." or even "When are the police coming after me?"
your dreams head-on often triggers guilt as if you're doing something
wrong...and sometimes lots of it. You may feel afraid of leaving others
behind to go where you want. You may also wonder whether you're hurting
those you're close with in order to live your dream.
To follow a dream, however, you have to walk your own path and and not everyone can be a part of that journey.
Some people will be supportive. But other people may not be in favor of
you getting what you want, and in that case you have to decide what
you're willing to put on the line. It's an individual decision, and an
Going for what you want requires the courage to
face guilt when it comes up. Guilt is a very real emotion, but for many
people there's a tendency to want to suppress it when
it arises. You may think to yourself, I know what I want---so there's no
problem, right? For most people, however, the journey to follow a dream
involves personal challenges, growing pains, and frustrations. If you
ignore the guilt that underlies going for what you want, you can't fully
appreciate and harness the journey that you're on. You may even find
that you eventually get a shell of what you want, without the real
substance inside of it.
This month, ask yourself what you've been really wanting in life.
Has guilt blocked your path getting there? Have you suppressed this
guilt? Get to know the guilt a little better and instead of feeling like
you're doing something wrong, you might remember that you're actually
doing something right by wanting what you want.