1. A messy house. Is your house a museum? Is it the site of a daily television show? Are you insane? If the answer is yes to any of those three questions, then I understand why your house must always be squeaky clean. But for the rest of us everyday schmoes, let up on the housekeeping guilt. Cleanliness is important to a point, but the only time every nook & cranny of your house really needs to shine is when you’re selling it. We work. We parent. We eat and make messes. We play and make messes. Dirt happens. Do you know what’s happening while you spend all the time obsessing and cleaning and cleaning some more? Everything. So drop the broom once in a while and go play.
2. Ordering take-out. I love Chinese food, and I can totally make a mean Kung Pao Chicken at home, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy, time, nor the interest in cooking every meal. Giving yourself a cooking break is nothing to feel guilty about.
3. Your feelings. Regardless of what you think you should be feeling, how you really feel is something you should listen to, respect, try to understand…and not feel ashamed of nor guilty about.
4. Letting go of a friend. It’s hard to say goodbye. I am the worst at it, and I hate it. Yet we are all in each other’s lives for a reason, whether for a lifetime or just a short season. When you have strong reasons for wanting to let go of a friend, appreciate the friendship you once had, then let go gently, kindly, with grace… and without guilt.
5. Putting YOU first. I don’t believe in martyrs, especially in martyr moms. The whole thing about Suzy Q Mom always putting her kids’ needs before her own? I call BS. Especially when she’s always complaining about how she is so tired from putting her kids’ needs before hers and she never gets her own time, blah blah blah. Stop whining already and go make that time for yourself, because otherwise you are setting a poor example for your kids. Don’t we tell our kids to do things that make them happy? How are they supposed to learn the important life lesson of pursuing true happiness when we don’t show them how we pursue our own happiness?
6. Stating your opinion on issues that matter most to you. While many may disagree 100% with every word out of your mouth, if an issue is near and dear to your heart, do not feel guilty about speaking out. If you really care about an issue, use your voice — it’s the most effective weapon we humans have. Maybe you’ll lose some friends or social media followers, but then those weren’t your true friends in the first place. I disagree with my closest friends on many critical issues, but I respect them more for their strength in their convictions and their ability to vocalize their beliefs.
7. Declining an invitation. Admittedly, I still have trouble with this one. I feel like I need a good excuse to miss an event — my kid is sick, I have a conflicting event, I have a deadline — but the truth is that sometimes we’re just too tired, or we need those two hours to not have to be anywhere or do anything. That’s okay. Warmly give thanks for the invitation, and then just as sincerely decline.
8. Eating chocolate. Unless you are allergic. Otherwise: no guilt.
9. Returning gifts you will never use. Waste is not cool. Gift receipts are actually very thoughtful. If you aren’t going to use a gift, returning it to the store so someone else who will appreciate it can then use it makes more sense than having it sit in the back of your closet.
10. Not meeting your mental picture of perfection. What qualifies as perfect, and how far will you go to achieve perfection? Once you reach that goal, then what? You will want more, you will feel more guilt, you will never be fulfilled. Change your perspective from perfection to simple happiness, and you change your whole world.
The bottom line is, nobody is keeping score, and if they are, then they are the ones who shouldn’t count in your life.
What are some things you think should be added to this list of Top 10 Things You Should Not Feel Guilty About?