I’ve been participating in the 30 Day Song Challenge on Facebook. (I guess I have a thing for 30 day challenges, lol.) It’s a fun little exercise where each day you post a link to a song in a category such as; from your favorite album, least favorite artist, reminds you of someone, etc. Today I’m on day 28, a song that makes you feel guilty. It gave me pause.
Normally I eschew guilt because I don’t think it has any real value; when we feel guilty we are locked in the past. I’ve always felt it is better to focus why we may have behaved a certain way, not to excuse the behavior, but to understand it and avoid it in the future. But lately I’ve been feeling guilty about a lot of basically trivial things. I’ve found myself reliving conversations, replaying events in my mind and just having a cringe fest at my own words and actions. Sometimes it’s with friends or family, sometimes with acquaintances or interactions with strangers in public. None of these events are horrible, just a lot of small instances that have added up to me being pretty hard on myself. And tonight it boiled over.
I found myself feeling, yet again, frustrated, annoyed and just generally… icky. I started to email my friend K when I realized that an email wasn’t going to do, I needed to talk. Because she knows me so well, as well as being pretty damned insightful when it comes to human behavior and motivations, she helped me realize that some of the frustration and annoyance I’ve been feeling guilty about feeling (and expressing) were stemming from my own insecurities and anger about something completely unrelated. Again, not excusing the behavior but trying to understand it so I can change it. The realization that I was taking out my bad feelings on people around me was not exactly comforting. I did feel a little better having talked it out and understanding why I’d been feeling and behaving this way but I also still felt guilty.
Then, I logged onto Facebook, read my messages and remembered I needed to do my song post for the day. I almost cried when I saw that today was the day for the song that makes me feel guilty. I thought about how I’ve been feeling, the phone call with K and what I would say to my daughter if she came to me feeling this way. So, instead of choosing a song that makes me feel guilty I chose one that helps me remember that guilt isn’t helpful. What I really need is to love and accept myself while still allowing space to grow and be a better version of myself.