Freedom & Guilt

I want to talk about two themes that keep coming up for me: freedom & guilt. You might not think those go together, but I am quickly finding out that they are directly related. The past couple of weeks have been super productive and positive ones for me. I have been able to exercise in the mornings, cook dinner for my family (a rarity in my agency days) and have had the pleasure of meeting two great friends for lunch (also unheard of prior to working for myself). In between all of this I have been working, working, working. Booking new clients, wrapping up lingering projects and pushing myself beyond what I was able to do with less time. Sounds just perfect, huh? When I stand back and take a look – it seems to be all working out. But being my slightly neurotic self, I  keep hearing a whisper. It says, “This is too good to be true. You shouldn’t be enjoying this so much. It is WORK, after all.”  Yep, the dreaded voice of guilt. I also heard myself saying these exact words when I answer the “So, how’s work going?” question. Why can’t I just enjoy it? I think we are programmed to adhere to the old adage, “expect the worst and you won’t be unprepared.” Or something like that. What a dismal outlook! I want to always be prepared for less than perfect situations, but I don’t want the fear of them to totally overshadow the freedom and flexibility I have right now. So…when I am cooking dinner and I hear that little voice start to say, “Too good to be true. Something is wrong.” I quickly remind myself of how many challenges I met that week. How many new skills I learned that I otherwise wouldn’t have and how much satisfaction I get from helping my clients. What are some ways you defeat the guilt?

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  • Liz says:

    Good for you! I totally know what you mean, though. I haven’t made the jump to freelancing 100% for myself yet but I feel the same guilt when I do find myself with a (rare) whole day without plans and decide to just have *me* day and relax–even if that means binge watching episodes of Scandal and never changing out of PJ’s. I used to feel like I was wasting the day or something but in reality, I know I work hard and really, what’s 24 hours of downtime when it comes to my sanity? 🙂

    • annhparker@gmail.com says:

      Yes, it’s hard to reprogram our expectations of what a work day looks like. I am trying to learn to recognize when I need a mental break. You are totally right – it’s worth your sanity to check out for a bit. My work is always better when I do that! Thanks for stopping by.