Guilty feelings got you down? Chin up, you’re not alone.
College can be stressful. Between classes, work, relationships, family and planning for the future, juggling one’s time is difficult and can make you feel burned out. Trying to please everybody is unrealistic and can be a huge source of stress. Feeling guilty is usually a side dish to this pressure.
While some guilt is healthy, natural, and can help keep values in check, too much guilt can be destructive to a person’s mental health. It can impede decision-making and lead to regrettable choices.
Have you called your mother recently? If so, she probably complained about the lack of regular contact. If not, she is probably dwelling on the fact that you don’t call her enough. Many student and their parents face this dilemma. It seems that empty nest syndrome can drive some parents to use desperate measures to keep control of their children. Laying a guilt trip is one of the most common and effective ways to do so.
Sophomore Brandi Johnson said she sometimes experiences a sense of guilt when she speaks with her mother.
“If my mom asks me to do something for her and I can’t, she will go down a list of things she has done for me and make it a test of how much I love her.”
This kind of guilt giving is not limited to the nuclear family. Johnson also gets a dose of guilt from grandma. “My grandmother always reminds us that she may not be here much longer and we should spend time with her while we can and that always gets me.”
Guilt is not strictly limited to the family either. A friend or a relationship could be adding extra pressure and guilt into everyday life.
“My girlfriend always makes me feel bad because she says that I’m not romantic enough and she hates when I hang out with my friends instead of her,” freshman Anthony Cowen said.
Though you cannot control the things that other people say, you can control the way you receive their words. If you are having trouble dealing with feelings of guilt, take some time to evaluate where they come from.
The Web site, www.wilsonbanwell.com, is devoted to mental and physical wellness. It describes steps a person can take to find the root of their feelings. Simple questions like asking yourself why you feel guilty can help pinpoint actions to alleviate guilt and develop a constructive plan to fulfill those actions.
Many experts say that guilt actually comes from within and is only brought to the surface by outside forces. If this is the case then feelings of regret and remorse cannot be dispersed onto others. Instead, the individual has done something to challenge previously held values and the guilt is a result of this change.
Communication is the best way to resolve guilty feelings. Taking time to explain feelings can help both parties understand each other’s situation and find a guilt-free solution.
Milli Protheroe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org