by Mel Blackwood @trouble8wheels
Our brains are hard wired for survival. Making sure we live another day, so the human species remains on this planet. What then, is the purpose of the emotion guilt? Having listened and unlearned a whole lot, once I stopped mentally beating myself up, I have found that guilt is the second chance emotion.
Those times that you have wished something wouldn't be done in that way again? And then felt terrible for the outcome? That's guilt, guiding you to do things differently next time.
Plenty of times, I have rushed around in life, trying to fit too much in, saying yes to everything and everyone, because 'ask a busy person' to get more things done. Busy people are more organised, self-motivated humans, who just get things done, right? Until they don't.
Take this week. WHAT A WEEK.
On Monday, I was due to fly back to the UK from Canada, when my worst nightmare played out, and I missed my flight. It was my fault. I hadn't checked the guidance, about how much time to arrive and it's been a good while since I took a medium haul flight from abroad. I missed check-in by 11 minutes. The support person in the airport said "Well if you only had carry-on we could probably get you through, but you don't, so we can't." In that time, my brain was spinning out, doing a classic panic. Who do I ring? How will I afford this? What DO I DOOOO? I tried not to cry. I couldn't even look at my phone - everything was just spinning.
In the end I decided not to bother the lovely folks I'd been staying with until I had sorted the issue at hand. (The reason we were late was due to roadworks, so staying with them another night would mean a further 5 hours driving for them - not fun and stressful too.) I booked a flight for the following day (the one that was 2 hours later was about £2K more expensive) and also a nice hotel at the airport. Then I let them know I was in fact, still this side of passport control. They felt incredibly guilty, and I know there will be no further international flights being missed if they ever have me back!
In the meantime, I also felt guilty for my amazing staff team who have been holding the shop together in my absence, and instructors who have been doing the same at classes. Then further guilt as I would be landing on my partner's birthday - and asking him to drive 3.5 hours to collect me from Heathrow.
If it's one thing I am learning though, it is that there are definitely times when I need help and this was one. How would I feel if the situation was reversed? I would want to help if I can. So I asked. And he said yes! He did have the option to say no, of course, and I would have worked out a train or coach. I am very grateful to have such a supportive network. No-one laughed at me (well, not to my face!)
I've also experienced guilt when spending money on myself, particularly as a mum when I'm not spending the same amount of money on my kiddo. I have learned to put that guilt down. It serves no one and is unhelpful. I am allowed to spend my hard earned cash on things that bring me joy and I trust myself to choose things that I know will last a long time, rather than give only a short-lived joyful experience. Expensive roller skates - ahhh perfect! They feel great and will last for years, compared to the fast fashion items that I may only wear a couple of times.
Do you carry guilt that is unhelpful or do you allow it to guide you?