April 7, 2010
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Why are you guilt-ridden the moment you take some time to yourself? Why does what little personal time you have always disintegrate into doing-something-for-somebody-else time?
At last you have an hour to yourself! One precious hour to stretch out and read that romance novel you've been hoarding. You're just getting into it when that little voice inside your head starts up: "What about the laundry? You didn't pick up the kid's room…And who do you think is going to start dinner?" and on and on until you feel like such a bad person for taking time to do something as frivolous as read a novel that you end up not enjoying your time at all, and putting your book down after all of 15 minutes. You're cranky and miserable, but what can you do? How can you stop being so driven by your guilt?
Recognize guilt for what it is: Guilt is just a collection of thoughts running inside your head. You can choose a whole other collection of thoughts any time you want.
When you've carved out that personal time, say to yourself "I'm valuable. I need TLC just like my kids, my pets, my plants and my family need TLC. I'm taking an hour of time for me. Period. End of sentence," and do it! Whenever a guilty thought comes up, say to it firmly, "Nope – that's for later. Right now I'm enjoying my book," and stick to your guns. As you repeatedly say "No" to your guilty thoughts, eventually they'll slink off and leave you in blissful peace.
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