The Little Voice in my head is Guilt. And it’s not pretty.
I used to go to therapy 3 years ago, and something we spoke about often was my guilt. A constant theme that would come up whether it was career, relationships, family or friends. The advice that was given to me was, “set boundaries so you don’t feel obligated to doing things you don’t want to do.”
For me, guilt is a trait that is embedded within my DNA. For years I have let guilt control many things but especially my relationships/friendships.
They say that how you were treated as a child translates into adulthood patterns. This is true for our perception of love/hate, justice/injustice, and for me, the same applies for guilt.
When I dig up some of my repressed memories from childhood, many of the things were not out of want but out of being guilted into doing them. For example, all the extracurricular activities that I was enrolled in such as: tennis, piano and dance were all wants of my parents — not me.
But why the guilt?
The guilt would come from my parents going above and beyond, spending their money on activities they wanted to do as children, but didn’t have the capability to do so — in turn making me feel badly about CHOOSING not wanting to do it and eventually feeling guilty and being talked into enrolling.
Through my own journey, I have learned that on the other side of guilt is fear. In this case, it was fear of letting my parents down because all they wanted was the best for me and to experience new things.
But what did I, Karishma, really want at that age?
A question that has come up a variety of times during the course of my life — but still remains unanswered. All I can really remember wanting is to be left alone and unbothered. Probably because my parents were in my business 99% of the time.
As an adult this translates to having a difficult time finding hobbies — but also feeling guilty for the laziness that comes with not wanting to try a variety of things like I did when I was a child — fearing that I could be stuck in the state of lazy forever.
If I had to choose, the things I like most are social — with friends mainly surrounding food or drinks. But often, I get myself in trouble with my relationships for being TOO loyal. A character trait that I have inherited from my guilt but one that I have always prided myself on.
I am loyal to a fault with my friends, family, people I believe in generally, but also am the one who ends up getting hurt in the end — because on the other side of loyalty, is high expectations. An idea I eventually let go of when I realized all friendships are not built equally.
Living with guilt is like watching yourself being taken advantage of time and time again, but because you want the best for everyone around you that you forget about yourself in the mix. We give and give out of love, a good place, but time and time again we find disappointments in our relationships leading to waves of anger or grief ending in our worst fear: complete disassociation and loss altogether. It’s the only way the guilt subsides.
The process of letting go is full of guilt, because that means I have to stop caring. Not being able to help the people I love? After spending sleepless nights thinking about their situation followed by listening to those who are directly affected by their decision.
And the only way a guilt-ridden mind can deal, is to not deal at all — and continue on its merry way. We must tell the people who are talking about it to stop and we have to come across as cold-hearted and confrontational to the ones that we love so we CAN’T have opinions on their decisions.
When guilt runs your life, you forget about your own well-being. You forget that you must accept yourself first to ACTUALLY build healthy boundaries with those around you.
It’s only when you figure out what’s happening on the inside, you are finally able to let go of your expectations, the fear of loss, and give others the freedom to be who they are and still love them for it.