Resolve 2013: De-stress De-guilt With Maggie Jaimeson

art-resolve2013Maggie Jaimeson is one of those wonderful people who make me feel I can climb any mountain and go under, over, or around any obstacle bold enough to tumble into my path. A fabulous writer and dear friend, she has great heart and it shows in her stories. Please help me welcome Maggie as she shares tips on how to de-stress.

Maggie Jaimesonmaggiejaimeson-smallprofile

UNDERTONES

For me the thing that causes the most stress is guilt. I feel responsible for just about everything, including everybody’s happiness, and when I don’t achieve all of it I feel guilty. I feel guilty my house doesn’t look like Martha Stewart’s. I feel guilty I don’t do homemade gifts for my family. I feel guilty I haven’t made more money on my writing after 8 years of investment in it. I feel guilty when I spend any amount of my day simply surfing the net or spacing out on television.

Even though, intellectually, I know I’m doing the best I can and that I’m only human and I’m not responsible for everyone’s happiness I STILL feel guilty. That causes stress. So, I decided to offer the three not-so-easy steps that work for me to de-guilt and thus to de-stress until the next guilt-inducing moment comes along.

1. Ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do to make this situation better right now?” Here are some examples for writers:

    • “I can talk to my husband/children about negotiating a change in house cleanliness while I work on this book.”
    • “I could give up writing in order to meet the demands of others, but that would be a short-term solution. Since I would not be happy with this solution, I would become a bitch and my family would give in and we would end up in the same place. I have exhausted all possibilities and there is nothing I can do to make this situation better.”

2. If you still feel guilty, evaluate it’s productivity. Say to yourself, “I have now done everything in my power to make this situation better but I can’t. Is feeling guilty helping anything? Is it changing anything? “Assuming the answer is No(which for me the answer is always No), then you must say to yourself. “My guilt no longer serves any positive purpose. I must let it go.”By the way I have a colorfully printed poster in my office that says LET GO OF THE GUILT. IT BRINGS YOU NOTHING.

3. Establish Healthy Selfishness. For people who are “pleasers” like me and who easily feel guilty, this is the hardest one of all. Healthy selfishness is an important ingredient in living a full life, and its presence — or lack of it — can be felt in both the biggest issues as well as the smallest details. Here is a quick way to determine if you are living a healthy selfish life. If you share a common space with someone else (like your spouse or partner or children) examine it closely. It can be a bedroom, or the most telling is the bathroom. Whose stuff gets more territory or the most convenient space? Who’s pictures, tschotkes is most prominently displayed? Who gets more time in there, and whose schedule takes priority? If one person is significantly more than half, that means the other is not taking any control and not being selfish enough.

That bring us to the hardest part of all, behavior change. You have to put yourself in control. If you want a better life, one with less guilt and less stress—one where you get what you deserve—you have to want it, and badly. The desire to change lies below your fears, deep down in your soul. For me, I do it in small steps. Every day I have to take an action that may seem insignificant but asserts my control.

Am I doing it? Yes. Is my life completely de-stressed? De-guilted? Not a chance and it never will be. But, every step is better and every step makes me happier and every step makes me believe even more that I will get there.

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About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on January 7, 2013, in Auth: Special Guest and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Maggie – this post certainly hit home for me! When I’m writing, I feel guilty that I’m not cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, spending more time working on the house remodel. When I’m doing any (and sometimes several) of the above, I feel like I should be writing. My solution is to write when I can, shooting for at least 45 min in the morning, before I leave for work. Then in the afternoon, when I get home, it’s time for all that other stuff. Does it always work? No, not really. But it does help!

    Thanks for the great post! Happy Writing!

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  2. Jamie, your dog is definitely in control of that household then. The question is: Is that the way you want it? Does she have as many outfits as you?

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    • Yes and yes. I had to ask her to borrow her tiara for the last party!
      Okay, kidding:)
      But she is central in our lives, and I swear she helps me be a better writer (stretching across the bottom of my chair so I can’t move), as well being a great motivator to get out of the chair and walk her.

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  3. Hmmm… I answered all the questions and the “person” who has the most territory, space, photos, schedules ALSO has a 40 lb bag of kibble in the closet, and, given the chance,she can easily stretch out her 85 pound self across the king-size bed… pushing me and my husband to opposite edges. We’re in deep trouble here 🙂

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  4. Susan, thank you for having me on your blog. This is a great topic for me because I am a poster child for guilt. Nothing my parents did, just manage it all on my own.

    Paty, you are my role model. You started writing for the same publisher I did and you’ve been having lots of self-pub success. So, I believe you. Now where was that patience gene? I know I put it somewhere in the piles, but just can’t find it. 🙂

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  5. I know the feeling of guilt with the writing. I spent so many years chasing the dream and draining the pocketbook, but I’m finally making money and being half of the financial support of our marriage. I pay for my car, the groceries, my writing expenses and tuck money away. So all that guilt is slowly melting away and I’m the most stress free I’ve ever been. You’ll get there too, Maggie. And it is so empowering when it happens!

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