Women and Guilt

Guilt (noun):

“A feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.”

Let’s be honest- women are motivated by guilt. I am including myself in this statement. For some reason, women have this cosmic sense of obligation to the entire world, which we can most likely thank Eve for.  Wherever it comes from, I am trying to understand it so that I can can shake it.

For example- someone asks you to attend another Pampered Chef party, your fifth one in the past two years. You are fully aware that you will not enjoy yourself, and that you will be put in a position where you do not feel absolved for just showing up- you must buy something you don’t want or need. (No offense to Pampered Chef- they have great products. Just randomly picking on them).  You grimace and say, “well, umm, I should probably have some time, yeah, ummm, sure, okay, I can make it.” If it’s an Evite invitation, you avoid responding until the last minute, when your friend calls and begs you to go suffer with her. At least you’ll be together.  So you cave. And typically, you go, have a mediocre experience, and leave with a little less money in your wallet, feeling frustrated at best.

This is just one example of how women are afraid to say “no”, because we feel responsible for someone else’s reaction and feelings. We have been trained our entire lives to guard other’s emotions at the expense of being open and honest. Have you ever observed how men communicate in similar situations? They just say no. And the other guy doesn’t go home and cry in his pillow about it. I am not proposing that we try to act like men, as women have unique gifts of emotion and intuition. But we cheat ourselves when we allow guilt or people-pleasing to be our motivator in relationships.  The women in my life that I respect and appreciate the most are the ones who don’t mince words with me. They are honest. They aren’t afraid to tell me no, and set boundaries with me and others. Their purpose is clear, and they let their “yes” be “yes” and their “no” be “no”.

I am not sure if I will ever figure out exactly why we women feel like we are responsible for every person around us. But I know there is a way that we can be loving and encouraging while staying true to ourselves.

What have your experiences been with this?

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  1. says

    This is absolutely so true! I always feel like I need to make every single person happy, even when I am not capable of doing so. Lately I have forced myself to take a few steps back but I still feel that pressing guilt when I don’t help out.


    Hannah Katy

  2. hilarybarnett says

    Hannah Katy,

    Thanks for sharing! More power to you in the ability to say “no” and not feel bad about it!

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