Do you feel bad for wanting to nap in the middle of the day?
Do you feel bad for wanting to set a certain boundary—like telling your friend to stop commenting on your weight? Or telling your in-laws to call before “stopping by?” Or like saying ‘no’ to something, to anything?
Do you feel uncomfortable taking a break or taking the day off?
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
Do you feel like a slob for wanting to binge watch your favorite show?
Do you feel shame about the anger, sadness, grief, anxiety that you’re carrying?
Yes, maybe you do. Maybe you feel lots of shame and discomfort and unease.
So you don’t process your feelings. Any of them.
So you say ‘yes.’
So you don’t rest.
So you keep struggling.
So you stay quiet, silent, weary, exhausted, annoyed, and angry.
So you stay bottled up, about to burst at any moment.
Why do you keep saying ‘yes?’
Why do you refuse to rest?
Why do you keep struggling?
Why do you bash yourself for having needs?
For needing more time to recover?
For needing more sleep?
For needing more food?
For needing compassion?
For needing support?
For needing more time to finish a project?
For needing to feel safe?
For needing space?
For needing to be held?
For not being over it yet?
For going back to him or her and then realizing, oh-so quickly, that it’s never going to work?
For being human?
Maybe if you understand the why, you can overcome it. Insight can be your fuel.
For instance, you realize that you don’t set boundaries because a) It makes you uncomfortable to confront anyone and b) You think you don’t deserve it. So you read a book about setting boundaries. You work with a therapist. You practice. You remind yourself that doing something for someone from a place of resentment is not love. You realize that loose boundaries ruin relationships. (Healthy relationships are built on solid boundaries.)
Or maybe you start acting with care and kindness anyway. Maybe you disengage from your thoughts. You breathe. You take a nap anyway. You stand up for yourself anyway. You finally let yourself relax and unwind.
Then you realize something: This feels good. And your initial discomfort isn’t a sign that you were doing the wrong thing. It’s simply a sign that you haven’t done this before. That your self-worth has been sinking for a long time, for whatever reason, and it’s convinced you that it’s OK to get walked on and bashed. But really it’s not. And that if you work on this, that if you work through it, you can give yourself what you need. And so you do.