Why Do I Always Feel Guilty?
I’ve always had this little voice in the back of my head whisper “hey loser, you know you should probably be doing something a little more productive right now”. I don’t know if it’s something my Dad ingrained in me or if it’s just in my DNA, but for some reason when I get home at night and watch tv, or if I take the day off to spend it in the studio recording, I can’t help but feel a slight, lingering guilt hover oh so gently like an umbrella over my soul.
That feeling ends up spoiling my leisure time, and the entire relaxation part is thrown out the window, resulting in me being even more annoyed than when I left off. Instead of turning my brain off and enjoying the moment, I’m busying it with all kinds of madness.
Although omnipresent, for the most part it’s not so disruptive, but once in awhile it creeps up and like that one family member we all have, overstays its welcome. It turns into a vicious cycle that can burn you out, at least it did for me. I’ve gone through extended periods in my life where I’d spin my tires for a long time, and my overwhelming need to be productive actually made me the opposite, and cranky as hell.
It’s taken me a while to figure this out, and I’m not quite out of the hole yet, but I think it has to do with the fact that I never really asked myself why; there’s a good start!
Why do I feel like I need to do more work when I get home? Did I not work enough today? Am I proud of the work I did? Did I spend most of my day running around? Did I really get anything done? Do I even like what I do?
Why do I feel guilty that I’m in studio? Do I feel like I’m letting people down at work? Am I not able to live in the moment? Do I care what people think about me taking the day off to go play?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
As I kept going, I started to understand where the feeling was coming from. Maybe my need for extracurricular work came from a problem at work. And it turns out that was a big part of my current, useless state. I was taking on a role that no longer complemented me or suited my skill set. It was difficult to muster up the courage at first, but I’m so glad I did, because the feeling was mutual. After a little time and some good discussion, I’m now doing something that gels much better with me, and someone better equipped has taken my role; everybody wins.
Now what about the guilt from me being in studio? My reasoning says it stems from something deeper. As much as like to say that I’m a badass and I don’t care what people think, it turns out, I do. Without ever realizing it, I’ve always tried to live up to an idea of myself that just isn’t even me; this alpha, 5am to 10pm powerhouse who takes every call, who never says no, who everyone can count on. Well that just isn’t me, and guilt derived from failure was imminent with that kind of unrealistic standard.
Combine that mess with unfulfillment at work, and there you have it ladies and gentlemen, a true, magnificent trainwreck!
I was fed up with feeling guilty, and I had to find out where it came from. Maybe the feeling of guilt is your body sounding an alarm. You know how annoying an alarm going off can be if you don’t shut it off in the first 5 seconds, imagine 5 months, or years…
Our body is an unbelievable machine, and if we’re feeling something, it means it’s talking to us. It means it wants us to listen and get to the bottom of it, because it wants to perform harmoniously. Without having asked the questions, nothing would’ve changed, and I would’ve stayed in my hamster wheel until I ended up in Arkham. But by acknowledging that there was a problem, it led me to address an issue that made me recognize I should only try to be me; trying to be anything else is destined for failure.
It doesn’t mean I’m out of the wheelhouse; more things will come up, that’s life! But when they do I’ll know how to react, I’ll hear them as an alarm, one that can only be turned off by asking the right questions.