False Guilt & Why Beating Yourself Up Doesn't Work
I've got a lot of dreams and goals, which is a good thing. Making plans and dreaming about the future keeps me engaged and excited about life. But what happens when you have too many things on your to-do list? Or, what happens when one of your dreams is SO BIG that there isn't much time left in the rest of your schedule for anything else?
Over the last 9 or 10 months. I've been working on the ‘big daddy' of my dreams - writing a young adult novel. Like most people I know, my free time is precious - and limited, so I have to choose wisely when deciding what to do with an extra 30 - 60 minutes. Even though I've got about 5,000 things I want to accomplish, I had to choose one. One. Everything else had to be pushed to the side until the first draft of the book was completed - including this blog.
On the positive side of things, I've never been prouder of myself for writing this book and pushing myself past my fears and doubts. On the negative side, I had to deal with a lot of guilt about:
not keeping this blog going
the house being a wreck
spending so much time on something that (at least for now) doesn't financially support my family
spending less time with friends
being less productive in other areas of my life
There was also a TON of fear around spending so much time on something that may never be published. Questions circled my brain like spooky carrion birds:
What would people say about me if my book was never published? Would they call me a failure? Would I be a failure? What if all this hard work was for nothing?
WAS IT SELFISH TO BE SO SINGLE-MINDED IN THE PURSUIT OF MY DREAM?
So, I beat myself up. A lot. My good buddy guilt came to visit and wrecked my guest room (you should have seen what he did to the bathroom - shiver) Needless to say, all this chatter in my brain was doing nothing for my writing and making me feel terrible as well.
It took a long time for me to get out of my own head and get tough with the constant inner monologue of guilt and failure running on repeat, but when I finally shut those voices down - WOW! Life became fun again, and working on my book was a joy instead of a drain.
HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU WASTE LISTENING TO YOUR NEGATIVE INNER MONOLOGUE DRONING ON AND ON WITH NO SIGN OF LETTING UP? HOW COULD THAT TIME BE BETTER SPENT?
I think what we all have to realize is we're not superheroes. There are only so many hours in the day and you can only do so much. So decide what's important to YOU. If someone doesn't understand your passion for drawing, or writing, or science, etc. that's ok. It's not your responsibility to make them understand. It is, however, your responsibility to follow your calling and live YOUR life.
My only regret in working toward my dream of becoming a published author is that I didn't start sooner. So take it from someone who has 'been there' - if you know what your biggest goals and dreams are, then start your journey now. And if you don't know what your heart's calling is, then begin searching now. Now is the only moment you have. Don't waste it on false guilt and beating yourself up.