Last Post of 2011

Guilt is a funny emotion. Well, actually no, it isn’t. It sucks, it nags, it drives me absolutely bonkers! Why? Well, I’m Catholic… I think that explains a lot when it comes to guilt (and don’t get me wrong, I love my faith, but I could do without the guilt).

It’s one thing when I deserve to feel guilty, when I know I’ve done something wrong. That’s why guilt is there: to keep us in check. But when I feel guilty over something I have no control over, then I really  despise guilt. The reason is that when I’m feeling guilt, I obsess over it until I actually start to feel sick. Not good.

For example, recently I’m being faced with a lot of changes that I’ve gone through within the past few months especially, the biggest one being having graduated from school and being thrust into the working world. Also, though, I’m realizing how much I, myself, have changed as a person throughout my undergraduate studies and that I don’t fit with some of the friends I had before I started university and I feel bad that I’ve changed. But why? Those people have changed too and don’t (I assume) feel bad about it.

This is the question I face every day: why do I feel guilty about change when it is inevitable and necessary? I think it has to do with what I believe people expect of me and not living up to those “expectations.” The problem with others’ expectations of how you should be aren’t always what’s best for you, which is what I’m slowly realizing and striving to integrate into the way I see myself, the decisions I make, and the people I surround myself with. And the other thing I’m realizing is that surrounding myself with people who have these expectations of me that don’t work is causing all that extra guilt, which means I need to break free from them.

Of course, it’s hard to break away from people you care about or used to care about; we hear about it all the time from boy bands (which all sound the same, by the way. Check out this song from DaVinci’s Notebook and you’ll see what I mean). But this is what I’m learning, that it’s no use to wallow in guilt about moving on because that’s what we’re supposed to do: learn, grow, change, and go forth and prosper. And that’s the only way we will go forth and prosper, by accepting the change and living it.

This doesn’t mean we can’t feel bad. By all means, these changes are making me feel pretty shitty at times. But I’m trying to keep it all in check, feel bad for only as long as necessary. That’s the trick: necessity. In my clown class I took this summer, I learned about the neutral mask. In short, being in a neutral state of mind and body means doing and feeling only what’s necessary and not commenting on it. For example, I am allowed to jump from happiness, to rage, to hysteria, to calm, but I’m not allowed to think, “why do I feel that way? I shouldn’t be feeling that way.” Once we start questioning ourselves and our feelings, we go back into our heads and drive ourselves silly by all the over thinking we will then do (yes, this is a bit hypocritical when it comes to me, but though I love thinking, I do believe that sometimes thinking can get us into a lot of trouble and that returning to our bodies and neutrality will help ground us and relax us.)

So, since today is New Year’s Eve, I set forth my resolutions for the upcoming year:

1. Do what is necessary

2. Embrace the changes coming forth

3. Take a risk when I least want to

4. Exercise when I least want to

5. Make eye contact with people (sound easy, but it’s so hard to do!)

6. Continue with this blog for the next year to keep things in perspective


Joyanne 😀



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5 responses to “Last Post of 2011

  1. Alan

    If you carry guilt it will weight you down. If guilt becomes your engine that moves you on then it has served its purpose and you can leave it behind.

    I have had my struggles with guilt but I now live predominately guilt free.

    • Good point. Now that I started reading this new book I got, however, I’m thinking that maybe it’s not the guilt that’s weighing me down, but shame. I’ll write about that soon.

      • I was just thinking about the difference between shame and guilt. I’m glad you caught it too. Shame is a different beast that likes to rear it’s ugly head in moments when we feel bad about ourselves. Let’s learn about shame resilience together. 🙂 Here’s hoping it’s a resilient new year!


  2. Noori

    Those are awesome resolutions! Power to you!

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