Finding time and then enjoying the time you find can feel like an act of courage sometimes! That is especially true when there are voices (both inside you and around you) telling you that your time doesn’t really belong to you. Perhaps they tell you that you owe it to others, instead.
Rather than allowing these nagging voices to make you feel guilty, how about introducing another, adult voice to the mix? Your calm, rational, adult voice will ask a very fundamental question: Is this the truth? Or is it merely a myth?
Then, it’s always very helpful to break down these messages that make you feel guilty – be as specific as you can about what you (or others) are saying. One very common myth you might tell yourself is:
I just can’t let people down, when they have such high expectations of me!
Now this myth might feel very real to you. Your desire to please those you care about may be very strong. The problem is, when others’ expectations come first, your priorities have to come last. Or else, you carry a constant burden of guilt and fear, anticipating others’ disappointment at every turn.
Does this feel familiar? If you are ready to stop making yourself feel guilty, here is your opportunity to initiate some freeing changes in how you relate. Your adult message to counter this myth is:
Regardless of what others may believe, I am not obligated to meet their expectations.
Acting on this can feel terrifying at first. But with practice, declaring your independence from others’ expectations will feel quite liberating. In fact, you may discover that important relationships grow more resilient as you develop your assertiveness and authenticity. And you’ll use your time in more rewarding ways!
Here’s a helpful affirmation you can use as you reclaim your time, especially when you start to feel guilty about your time choices:
Others have a right to their feelings, and I have a right to use my time in ways that align with my deepest values.
Allowing others the space to have their feelings, and empowering yourself to not feel guilty when you make self-affirming choices are very powerful, heart-based time management tools.
© Copyright 2011 Paula Eder, Ph.D.