Ok, so this post was originally scheduled to be published next Friday. However, after listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast episode 201 a few minutes ago, I had to post it today. She is so wise and her conversation in this podcast helped support my message below about wanting to be “considered helpful”. http://www.elizabethgilbert.com/magic-lessons/201/
And now…Next Friday’s post, today-
There is a pressing need somewhere inside me to feel as if I am giving back to my community; I used to talk a lot about my plans to volunteer my time, my money, my whatever in order to serve; but that never amounted to much action. Still, I have a strong instinct to be considered helpful.
Now that’s a little bit different, I have realized, than wanting to actually be helpful. My concern is to be seen as helpful. I wish people would look adoringly at me for all the hard work that I do for them and for others.
This is a completely inflated and unrealistic expectation of myself. It is a false idea, y’all. And I believed it for years. It was part of my “good girl” identity. And every once in a while I begin to believe in that false, romantic vision again.
As soon as I fall into that old pattern, I feel pangs of guilt rising up; and I hear the nasty thoughts roll through my mind about all the time and energy I have wasted in my life that “should have been spent volunteering.”
Somehow, I turn on myself about my contribution to the world. Being me and doing what I’m naturally motivated to do on a given day is not enough when I fall into this mindset.
Does this happen to anyone else? Do you have patterns of guilt that rear up every now and again driving you to beat yourself up and promise to do better?
In my experience, guilt is not the right place from which to do anything. Guilt is not the right reason for me to volunteer or to hand over money from my bank account. Guilt is only the right place from which to speak up about feeling guilty.
In other words, it’s more important that I understand my guilt first and then act on what comes out of that work. The action I take, after all that discernment, will be more levelheaded, more authentic and more helpful than if I frantically gave and gave and gave until the guilty feelings went away- because they’d really just be replaced by inflated feelings of self-importance anyway.
Sweet readers, consider liking, commenting, sharing and following to join this tribe of sensitive seekers. Thanks! ~Sweet Georgia Pam