self-imposed guilt

Why do I feel so guilty when I don’t do yoga? Or when I don’t get everything done on my to-do list? I hate that. Why am I such a perfectionist? When can’t I just chill and let things go, let things flow? I hate how I allow these minor infractions of going off-schedule or “off to-do list” can slow down and drag down my whole day. I need to rise about this self-imposed bullshit I put on myself.

I worked a late shift last night, got home around 2, showered, and by the time I got to bed it was 3. I woke up at about 9:40 and knew there was a restorative class at 12:15 I totally could have gone to. But I went downstairs and forgot my brother had taken the day off and I feel like I haven’t seen him all week, so we had breakfast together and it was nice. But eating when we did ruled out going to yoga (because I don’t practice well if I eat less than 2 hours before. I don’t feel right and it’s distracting). And I’m glad we spent time together. I probably would have made the same choice if I started my day all over again. Yet why do I feel guilt for not going to yoga? It’s not like I said I’d go and then didn’t show up. I didn’t even reserve a spot. Yet I feel like I’m punishing myself, making myself feel badly for not committing to something I wanted to do in a perfect world, you know?

And it’s not just yoga, it’s other things too. Like clearing my desk, reading more, changing my guitar strings – anything really. Yoga’s just today’s example. Sometimes there’s just not enough time in a day or not enough personal energy in a day to get it all done. I have to learn how to be okay with my choices, especially when choosing not to do something. When we’re young, our parents are our primary disciplinarians teaching us right from wrong, teaching us values. But as we get older and find ourselves in more and more situations where we need to rely on ourselves, I think there are moments sometimes where we know we missed the mark (or think we missed the mark) where we end up disciplining ourselves in a strange way. As though there is some straight-lined objective that’s a part of us. And feeling like shit or “unfulfilled” or “guilty” is part of that self-punishment. And I think it’s so ingrained into my mind it happens automatically. It’s like a Pavlovian effect.

Because although it may not be my list, having breakfast and laughing with my brother, catching up on TV, or going for a walk (which I still hope to do) are still good and wonderful things. And I don’t regret doing those things. I need to stop feeling as though the day is lost because I didn’t get one or two things done. I need to learn how to look forward and move on and see the big picture.

Maybe it’s the curse of being near-sighted; I get too close to things and forget to back up and realize it’s all part of a bigger picture.

Author: Roe

she/her. Songwriter & Trek Punk Soul™.

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