"A good rule is that any environment that constantly lets you feel bad about who you are is the wrong environment." ~ Laurie Helgoe
Are you worried that if you meet your needs, will you disappoint others? Do you ever feel guilty for doing what is best for you?
For years, I felt guilty about my time for myself. I thought that being alone, away from the rest of the world, means being selfish. This was particularly true in a toxic relationship that moved me because I was afraid to make a change. As a peaceful, compassionate man who has always been a good listener and a donor, I was thrilled by his unstable and compulsive behavior, thinking I could help him change for the better.
But after two years of constant destruction from a wealthy partner who thought I was selfish every time I only longed for time, I knew I got to my point.
I remember one night, after a busy day at work, we happily waited for a relaxed evening. As I was traveling home, all I could think of was getting a hot bath, kneading an aromatic herbal tea, and putting my favorite fluffy pajamas. Beneath the shimmering light of my reading lamp, relaxed on a warm bed, I lost the world of mystery and fantasy that made my soul alive.
A few minutes after reading, I received a text from him, asking me to "prepare the ten because we're out and you have no choice."
First of all, I ignored the message and returned to my reading, having made plans earlier this week to see his friends. Then he phoned, but I did not get it. Eventually, after several attempts to get to me, he hurried into my apartment, knocking on the front door.
I said I slept and did not answer. The truth is that I was scared and reluctant to open the door given its usual aggressive behavior.
I did not want to face him because I knew he would not understand. I he felt mentally and physically drained to constantly need to to explain myself and let him handle me again. I ran to need to find good reasons because I needed time for myself, and I was sick and tired to constantly change my plans for him.
But as he left, I began to feel horrible. I felt guilty about avoiding the situation and the fact that I could not resist him. What made me feel more annoying was that I finally did what I was afraid to do for so long. I had heard my inner guidance and did what was best for me.
Still, instead of going back to reading and enjoying the ceremony of my evening, I opened a bar of chocolate and slowly devoured the huge fat and sugar in just a few minutes. Immediately, I returned to my "happy" mood, thinking that life was good again. But then, as her guilt eating so much sugar slowly sank in, I found myself back to square one, feel even worse.
This happened a decade ago when I fought with an exhausted sugar. To compensate for my inability to say no, to be perfectionist and to live in a toxic relationship, I would eat sugar. Many of these. I was so attracted to sweets and chocolate that I could not go one day without eating at least one whole bar. It was part of my daily routine and something I thought was normal.
Sugar was the answer to all my difficulties. It was my biggest excuse to stay where I was and not to do anything about my life.
Not surprising, I was struggling with self-confidence, I felt I had a deep defect because I was introverted. In my childhood, I was ashamed to be regularly humiliated by my mathematics teacher in front of the whole class and constantly intimidated by some of my classmates and my older students. Later, the same guilt is haunting me in similar ways, but as I grew up, it became part of me, almost like a disease.
After that day, I decided to end the toxic relationship that made me doubt my worth and burned me emotionally. Eventually I found the courage to face the man she had used, accusing, irritating and threatening to cover all his injustices.
Throughout our relationship, I apologize every time I hurt because I felt guilty to make him feel bad. I tried so hard to be the perfect girl who never made mistakes, never spoke her mind and never broke. I found myself to agree with everything, while my conscience cried the opposite. For so long, I tried to correct what had been broken. I felt bad, lonely and betrayed.
The truth is that I thought she was responsible for what she felt. For his actions. Why did you see me? I was afraid to judge, so I reduced my value to make him feel comfortable. And slowly losing myself.
I have become a persistent perfectionist, paralyzed by the fear that he is good enough. All I had to do was totally perfect. But as hard as I tried, it was never enough to meet his expectations.
Now I know that the guilt I felt that night was the reaction I had become accustomed to, my comforting place that told me I was safe. But no matter how guilty I felt to do what I felt was right for me, I gained invaluable courage to start making a change.
It took a lot of work, patience and understanding, as well as learning through growth and change, to find out what I wanted from a relationship and how I wanted to deal with it.
I started with forgiveness. I was forgiven for not hearing my intuition and treating my body and my mind badly. Knowing that I can not change the past and that I do not really want to go back there, I learned the mistakes I made and learned invaluable lessons.
When I became honest with myself for what I wanted, I began to take care of myself, maintaining my health, nourishing my body and cultivating my soul. I made my priorities clear and I realized what was important to me. I started eating healthy and exercising regularly.
Finding the courage to end my unhealthy relationship inspired me to take action and do something about the serious sugar addiction that slowly but surely destroys my health. I signed for a course of wellness I had told myself I would sign up for months. Once we got to this place it was a huge success for me, then.
I remember when I got there, I cried out, unable to catch my breath. All I wanted to do was leave and never come back. I thought I was not ready to give up sugar as it kept me safe and comfortable. All I could think of was to get another bite out of my favorite chocolate, he promises himself, "Let's leave tomorrow."
After days of disturbing crying and successfully completing the lab, I decided to continue without sugar for the entire month. I promised myself that I would let go one thing that made me happy momentarily but kept me back in so many areas of my life.
And when something unbelievable happened. I noticed that the more I retained the sugar, the more I gave myself to exercise other things. I started waking up early and meditating. I started taking better food choices and training for long distances. By postponing immediate satisfaction and choosing not to eat what really hurts me, it made me much happier and more productive.
I am fully aware of the fact that my ad provided a strong short-term relief, but in reality it was a vicious circle that allowed me to feel vulnerable, empty and sad.
After having forgiven myself, I forgave others. No matter how difficult it was, I found the power to forgive anyone who hurt me and asked for the forgiveness of everyone I had ignorantly or deliberately wronged in the past.
Excuse someone means letting you drink bitterness and dissatisfaction with this person. This does not mean that you need to communicate with them or continue to have them in your life. Not at all. You do not even have to know it, but in your heart, you know you have not left bitterness, just love and acceptance.
And finally, I accepted myself about who I am and about where I have my own needs. I came back to read everyday and take lessons and certifications to improve myself and improve my skills I began to trust my inherent needs and desires because I finally realized it was up to me to decide how I spend my time and how much time need.
As introverted, we feel guilty that we are not talking enough, because we do not go as often as we think we should, and to avoid social situations because we only need time. We often end up in toxic relationships because we give, cherish, care about the feelings of other people and we do not want to hurt anyone.
But our only time is so vital to our well-being that if we do not hear our needs, we end up in frustration, dissatisfaction and the inevitable fatigue that happens with them.
Life according to your own needs does not make you a selfish person. It is okay to spend time away from others to fulfill your need to read, write, create and explore. It is OK to want to be alone and enjoy it. It is OK to do everything you need to do to feel fulfilled, balanced and connected to yourself.
Never feel guilty to do what is best for you or to prioritize what you value in life. Never feel guilty to be honest about how you feel and you never apologize for being yourself.