“Sometimes I just need to put away the self-help books and watch Game of Thrones.”- My niece.
Don’t we all have guilty pleasures that make us feel like a normal person? Yet many of us carry too much guilt to allow ourselves to take a time out.
As long as the behavior we choose as our guilty pleasure is not just a short term fix making our long term problem worse, why can’t we enjoy ourselves? We need to laugh, we need to take time for a pause, and we need to connect with other people. Therefore we need to stop feeling guilty as long we aren’t doing something that will make matters worse for us or our loved ones in the long run.
It is one thing to experience our guilty pleasure, it is another if we are using it as a means of constant avoidance. At times we do not want to face our areas of struggle. Our habits have become too hard to break. We can feel like we are a mess and it is too much work. Yet, what will happen if we do not ever deal with our issues?
If our issue is self-esteem and we grow addicted to the need for other people to lift us up rather than being able to lift ourselves up, we become too reliant on other people to find our joy. That can lead to more depression and unhealthy relationships.
If our issue is anger and we stop working on forgiveness then we will live our a life full of bitterness and ruin our opportunity for happiness.
If our issue is controlling other people or have difficult relationships and we don’t work on trying to influencing versus forcing power over others instead, we end with people avoiding us and becoming lonely.
If our issue is feeling overwhelmed or in a rut and we have not been able to set boundaries we will burn out or have health problems.
If we keep fighting in unhealthy ways and not learning to communicate effectively it can lead to divorce, loneliness or lack of connection to other people.
If we don’t deal with our anxiety and learn to understand how to reduce it we will go on living in fear and not fully experience life.
Keep in mind when working on ourselves can be a delicate balance. When we get caught up in seeking happiness through self-help without acting on the practices taught, we can end up feeling worse about ourselves. We need to often remind ourselves:
“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” – Author Unknown
When we focus on doing little healthy “other things” like exercise, reading a few positive messages, are intentional about controlling our thoughts, and use active listening, life is good, isn’t it? Aren’t we also happier people when we remember to be empathetic of others? Why not be more understanding of ourselves as well?
What is it you want? What have you put into your daily practice to stay on the right path to achieve your goal? If you don’t do what you know you need to do, what will be the outcome? Wouldn’t it be beneficial if you reward yourself for your hard work and accomplishments along the way? Remember to tell yourself each day, “I am worthy! I can enjoy taking a little time for myself and not feel guilty.”
Stone bridge Photograph taken in Ireland