Taking Action Out of Guilt Doesn’t Help Anything

Jennifer Sneeden
3 min readAug 14, 2022
Photo by Denis Tuksar on Unsplash

I hear my daughter in the kitchen as I finish my meditation. I know she is waiting for me. She loves to hang out in the early mornings; she’s all bright-eyed and eager to take on the day. I wake up slowly, ease into my day with a bit of yoga and then meditation. After meditation, I like to journal to build on that beautiful momentum that I created during my meditation. Then, once I’m feeling fantastic, I’m ready to interact with the world.

But I also feel guilty. Knowing that my precious daughter is waiting for me, eager to connect, how much time to myself do I deserve? I feel a strong part of me calling me out to the kitchen to be with her. I should go spend time with her. I should enjoy my children. I should be making her breakfast.

The inner conflict annoys me and interrupts the beautiful feeling I created for myself. Now I’m not just feeling guilty, I’m also annoyed with myself.

I catch myself before it gets too far, and make the decision I am NOT going out to hang out with her. I’m feeling guilty and annoyed right now, and if I go out there, I’ll be annoyed with HER. She’ll talk too much, be too eager, be too demanding of something I just don’t have to give right now.

I’ll be short and not really engaged, I’ll criticize her for not cleaning up the mess from her smoothie. None of that is her fault, and I don’t want her to think she did something wrong just because I’m in a bad mood. So I leave the door closed while I get myself together.

I’d rather be the mom who takes time for herself than the mom who operates out of guilt. I’ve learned that no good comes out of allowing guilt to drive my actions. If I hang out with my kids when I’m in a bad mood because I feel guilty, my bad mood is going to spread like wildfire through the house.

If I call my mother because I’m truly eager to connect with her and laugh over a show we both enjoy, we are going to delight in each other. If I call my mother because I feel guilty that I haven’t called her in a while, the phone call is only going to annoy me.

If I make a video because I have a flash of Divine Inspiration that I can’t wait to share with the world, that’s a video that will be appreciated by thousands. If I make a video because it’s been two weeks since I made one and I’ve really been slacking off and it’s time to get it together, that won’t be worth the time it takes to watch.

Guilt is a negative emotion, and taking action on a negative emotion doesn’t help anything. Taking action on a negative emotion only increases the negative momentum. We’re putting more energy into something we don’t want. Law of attraction gets ahold of our negative energy and negative action, and increases it even more.

We think we’re appeasing the situation, but we’re really making it worse. We think we’re doing something to make others happy, but it backfires.

Instead of letting guilt drive our actions, we can just acknowledge the guilt and resist taking action. I’ve learned that I can just wait it out. If my guilt hasn’t gotten much of a foothold, I can easily switch gears. If it has already gotten a foothold, reading a book or taking a walk usually help me distract myself.

My goal is to never take actions driven by guilt. I try to give that feeling of guilt as little attention as I possibly can. Because I know that’s not who I am. That’s not how I want to live my life. I want to live my life feeling good. I want to take pleasure in the people in my life. I want to enjoy my work. I want to delight in my experiences. None of these things are born out of guilt.

The life I truly desire is born out of feeling fantastic and following my Divine Inspiration. So, I’ll let my daughter make her own smoothie until the guilt passes and I’m ready to truly delight in her.

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