Feeling guilty for not doing anything productive is not the best position to be in. At least, because you could be having fun instead of sabotaging yourself.
Why is it so hard to feel relaxed when you’ve completed all of your tasks? Or have you not?
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So, you’ve found yourself feeling guilty for being lazy and not doing anything when you have to. What is going on?
You feel guilty for not working hard enough because you are going through a crisis or a conflict of interests.
“Guilt is an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes — accurately or not — that they have compromised their own standards of conduct or have violated a universal moral standard and bear significant responsibility for that violation.” – Wikipedia suggests.
What can we learn from that single statement which, in my opinion, very accurately portrays guilt? Let’s break it down to find out.
Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong, but guilt is:
Of all three, the most important for me is that guilt is a result of a conflict. There is something going on which is not to the point with what should actually be happening.
Often times, you feel guilty because there is some sort of misalignment between your expectations and reality.
Let’s consider it on my example.
I want to buy a 2-bedroom flat by the age of 25. I have 3 years to accomplish that. The clock is ticking.
I understand that I have to be working my butt off to squeeze such a big purchase into 3 years because with my current income it’s going to take 10 years.
But today I’m not working. I’m playing computer games, guitar, or just chilling. These activities do not bring me closer to my goal. Every time I try to relax I feel guilty. I feel like I’m not doing enough.
Moreover, I’m continuously reminded by social media channels and YouTube videos that I should be working harder, smarter, and more efficiently.
Do I feel guilty? Honestly, I feel like crap.
I just don’t allow myself to relax because of my own rules that I’ve created.
Now, let’s break down this example to find out the triggers that affected my mood.
Oftentimes, people like to establish unnecessary strict deadlines which are, without proper objective planning and estimation, tend to be very daunting because of how unrealistic and unachievable they are.
The pressure these time-bound frames create is just enormous. We feel usually feel anxious, weak, and paralyzed seeing this huge task that we need to deal with. Procrastination, as an unwillingness to start, makes us think that we are underperforming.
Because we are not hitting our goals right here right now, we blame ourselves for being lazy. Over time, we lose any natural desire to do things because we know how painful and stressful it is.
Sometimes, we prioritize our house cleaning, sports activities, and meal intercourses over doing the actual job.
People tend to focus on everything except what’s needed to be done. Usually, you’ll do a thousand of useless tasks instead of completing the important one.
I recommend reading this article:
You have to learn to get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you closer to your goal. It means living one day in a dirty room to have 20 minutes for your goal.
The problem is that short-term goals benefit you now. However, the long-term goals will make you happier for years.
Sometimes, if you feel guilty for not doing anything productive it means that you’re just lazy, boneless jerk. You have no willpower whatsoever and the power of your decision-making equals to zero.
But sometimes, you simply need to relax.
Your phone needs every day charging. A car needs regular maintenance. Your house needs cleaning. And you need to have a relax time too.
Constantly punching yourself for not doing anything productive may lower your self-esteem, decrease your mood, and increase stress.
The problem with this approach is that you artificially create internal pressure and start sabotaging yourself while facing the external problem.
Balancing between the two stressful worlds, your brain will choose to shut down and you’ll probably reach out to consuming more sugar, closing yourself from any social interactions, and spending even more pointless hours just photosynthesizing like a plant.
The solution is to allow yourself to enjoy your time.
Imagine a stuck carriage. You have to push and pull it in order to get back on track. Read this one:
Turn off your beast mode for a while and just chill out, bruh.
Sometimes, the feeling of guilt is hidden in the darkest corners of our upbringing.
Try to remember if there was a moment when your parents were blaming you that you’re not doing anything.
For example, you’ve just completed your home task in one hour. Now, you’re playing the computer. You mom comes into the room and says: “How’s that you’ve done everything so quickly? You must be hiding something from me. You shouldn’t be playing games, you should be studying.”
These are the moments when you feel the most terrible. Like, you’ve done everything you need, but somebody tells you that you should have done more. Why?
This creates pressure during your relax time. Now, being an adult, you have that trigger when you try to relax.
Sometimes, the same situation can be seen at work. When your boss wants you to be working like a horse even when you’ve completed the whole weekly plan. They are just sick that you’re “not doing anything”.
However, this is not your standard. This is up to your mom’s or boss’s standards, and not yours.
This is where you can experience the highest point of conflict of interests, and this is why you might feel guilty for not doing anything productive when you’ve actually done a lot.
Everybody has their own pace. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not doing anything productive, because it’s the most unproductive thing you can be doing. Instead, focus on creating a reasonable relax plan and then develop a strategy for getting back on track.
It’s all about drawing the line and knowing your limits. Eventually, you’ll be able to expand your borders and increase your performance, but today, the best option is to relax, probably.
Drop your thoughts in the comments and share this article with your friends.