Oh God The Guilt! A Tale of People Pleasing Self Sabotage

So, last week I made a decision to support myself. I said ‘No’.

I know that was a good, empowering, confident, brave thing to do but then I got side swiped by the guilt. Jeez, you then start wondering if the ‘No’ was worth it as the guilt hits on anxiety and then shame. Reaching for my journal I took some time to explore the feelings with some curiosity to see if I could nail what was going on.

I felt I had gone against other’s expectations of me in making that decision and had fallen short in their eyes. But hang on … had I? or was that my brain distorting my view of the situation resulting in making me feel bad? Hell yeah! GUILT – going against expectations.

The feeling was actually telling me that I’d also gone against my own set of beliefs …. SHAME – going against my own values and I’d let myself down. That I’d put myself first when my belief had always been that others should come first. People pleasing right there! I’d gone against what I felt I should have or ought to have done. My the pain those two little words bring forth!

My mind was absolutely playing big with me. I’d made a significant decision to change my behaviour and put myself first…so that had pushed me out of my comfort zone so my mind went straight into self sabotage mode! “What are you doing? You know this isn’t you! You’re not worthy enough to put yourself first, you SHOULD have just pushed ahead and just done it, what will everyone think?” 🤯🤯

It’s so easy at this point to allow your self talk to dominate … back track, apologise profusely for something that deep down you know you you’ve not done wrong, but you feel like you’ve just got to go overboard and make things right and get rid of this bad feeling. 😫 (feelings aren’t bad peeps, just sit with it a while it’s ok!)


If you back track you’re

  1. Devaluing yourself and your needs
  2. Reinforcing others expectations of you that may be unreasonable
  3. Continuing to carry a huge burden that isn’t serving you well

You’ve taken the first step in taking back control … just stop and pause for a minute to reflect on the actual reality … shut down the self talk and rationalise.

Ask yourself

  1. What would you say to a friend in the same situation?
  2. What is good about this situation and your behaviour?
  3. What strength have you shown for yourself?
  4. How have you valued yourself?
  5. How have you supported your inner needs or dreams?

If the feelings are still there, talk to someone who you’d trust with your life and get their perspective on the situation. You see your view of the world is clouded by your own beliefs and experiences, it’s so easy to feel isolated and judged.

But you’ll probably find that everything you thought others would think is just that … what YOU THOUGHT THEY WOULD THINK. They will have a completely different perspective (because they’re not you!) and may feel your actions were perfectly reasonable. Feel the relief in that! And anyway those who care generally offer kindness and compassion. Sharing releases tension and you’ll feel less isolated. As Dr Berne Brown would say “I know that the very best thing to do in the midst of a shame attack is totally counterintuitive: Practice courage and reach out!”

So here’s the bottom line .. guilt belongs in the past.
Especially if the action or decision you took was for selfcare or to move you further down your own path. Sometimes others will put unreasonable expectations on you to make their own life easier, keep the status quo and a avoid change because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Well stick by your boundaries and goals … they’ll just have to put their big girl pants on and get over it!

Let it go!, build resilience and confidence and move forward 🎈❤️

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