WOW Word-Of-the-Week #330: Guilt

November 28, 2010 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #330: Guilt 

Guilt – what selfish people want you to feel.

When was the last time you felt guilty? Was it because someone wanted you to do something you didn’t want to do? Have you ever been shamed into doing something that you didn’t want to do?

I find that this time of the year people tend to feel guilty. Do you feel obligated to buy someone a gift? Would you rather not exchange gifts at all?  Are you expected to do things you just don’t want to do? Are you worried about hurting someone’s feelings? Can you say “No, thank you” without guilt?

There was a time when I was susceptible to other people trying to “lay a guilt trip on me.” And this week I want to share another excerpt from Chapter One of my book, “Nice Girls Do… Things Like That.”

Nail it Down

And just when I thought I was finished with this chapter, I went to get my nails manicured. I have been going to Denise for over thirteen years off and on. I plopped myself into the black leather high-backed chair, plunked my fingers into the warm, sudsy water and proceeded to chat, like we always do. Getting a manicure is such a treat. Well, today Denise started off the conversation by asking, “Susan, do you want to go in with me and Don and buy a cabin in Big Bear? It’s only $50,000 for the down payment.”

Well, I didn’t need to think about it more than a nanosecond. And I blurted out, “No.”  Well, Denise was apparently taken aback and appeared to be a little miffed. Her retort was, “I can’t believe you could be so selfish.” I totally ignored her use of the word selfish (I didn’t want to go there) and proceeded to say, “I don’t want to buy a cabin. I don’t want to buy a boat. I don’t want to buy a motor home. The only thing I want to buy is my house. I don’t want any more things that I have to take care of.”  Then I changed the subject.

You see, I have learned to not be at the affect of things people say when it simply just doesn’t apply.  So the next time out of the blue when your friend says, “Will you loan me your car since mine is in the shop?” and it would be putting you out, will you simply say “No.”  Or the next time your sister asks you, “Can you dog sit for me this weekend?” and you’re allergic to the fur, will you simply say, “No.”  Will you be able to not feel guilty?

I see parents respond that way to their kids all the time. They don’t need to give an explanation and defend their position. It has taken some time and practice for me to be able to say, “No” and not feel guilty about it or to be at the affect of what other people say.

This week focus on what your needs are for this Holiday Season. Can you make some “new rules” that would take away some of the stress? Can you not be at the affect of things people say when it simply just doesn’t apply?  Can you say “No, thank you” without feeling guilty?

Reader Responses

“I should be able to eat my way through this holiday season and not feel guilty….LOL!” – Rosamaria

“I loved this week’s lesson!! Good for you! Cabin in the woods-not at this age. I want heat-comfort-TV-music -good food delivered to my hotel room. Hugs”  – Katie

“I have a younger sister to who attempts the guilt business, but I just try to ignore it. As I told my wife recently, my sister is in no position to try to guilt-trip anyone else based on her past. When she or anyone tries to do it I either call them on it or simply ignore it, because I have too many other things in my life that are more important to deal with on a day-to-day basis. People who try to guilt-trip others usually have issues they have not dealt with in their lives, or they are transferring their guilt onto others to make themselves feel better. And I find that it is usually the latter. Maybe because I am more settled and mature in my life, but I don’t buy into the guilt-trip business. Life is too short to even deal with it. As you noted, those who try are usually selfish. Thank you for the word, Susan. Good choice. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe