- I haven’t called my friend back
- I accidentally put a bubble-wrap envelope in the recycling bin and someone once told me
that if you do that, it ruins the entire process.
- I have therefore unwittingly contributed to hastening the end of the planet.
- I watch too much television…
- …but still haven’t read War and Peace.
- I really want to go on holiday, but this is a #firstworldproblem and I probably don’t check my privilege enough.
- My privilege.
- That thing I said one time to a colleague and it bothers me because it sounded rude but I didn’t mean it to, and now it’s too late to rectify.
- What I didn’t say to an ex and wish I had. Sometimes I rerun entire conversations in my mind, to assuage guilt at not having expressed myself properly.
- I got divorced.
- I don’t see my mother enough.
- I don’t often visit museums.
- I spend too much on clothes.
- I ate too many potatoes at lunch yesterday.
- The fact that I feel guilt about this, because I fervently believe women should eat whatever they want and be whatever size they want and that life is about enjoyment, not restriction.
- Every single email I’ve left unanswered.
- Not having enough hobbies. Going to the cinema is my only one and that barely counts.
- Not having taken up indoor rock-climbing, paddle-boarding or learning a language.
- The time I drove into a parked car but there weren’t any marks on it so I didn’t leave a note.
- Not being grateful enough.
- When I challenge myself to list five things I’m grateful for, they are often exactly the same things and I worry that defeats the point.
- I don’t do enough exercise…
- …but I sometimes punish myself by doing too much and don’t appreciate the value of rest.
- I’m writing an entire column about feeling guilty when I should be engaging with an important political issue of the day.
- I don’t keep a diary.
- I’m not vegan.
- I broke up with a toxic friend earlier this year.
- Before the break-up, I spent years feeling guilty that I’d done something wrong.
- Sometimes, when a peer of mine succeeds, I don’t feel joy. I feel jealous.
- I don’t meditate for long enough and am therefore unenlightened.
- I don’t do enough around the house. I should be organising my sock drawer in the style of Marie Kondo and retiling the bathroom with a striking mosaic sourced on Etsy and putting flour and icing sugar into Mason jars.
- I feel guilty every time I receive a text or a call from an unknown number because my first thought is ‘I have done something wrong.’
- At a point in my life when I thought I was sorted, I was in fact far from it. I probably hurt people. It took years of therapy to work that out.
- I invest too much money in therapy and not enough in a pension.
- I recently forgot that Henry VIII was succeeded by Edward VI even though I have a degree in history.
- I’ve miscarried three pregnancies. It doesn’t matter how often I’m told it’s not my fault. I still feel guilt that I couldn’t protect those babies.
- I haven’t sent enough thank-you cards.
- Often, all I want to do is lie on the sofa watching The Real Housewives.
- That I’m too much.
- That I’m not enough.
I’m not sure why I feel so guilty all the time but I suspect it’s a peculiarly female condition. It makes me wonder: what could we achieve with all that energy wasted on unnecessary shame? The sock drawer might get organised. I might read War and Peace. Maybe – just maybe – I’d forgive myself. And then, perhaps, we could all allow ourselves to believe in our worth, just as we are.*
*Does not apply to murderers. Your guilt is justified.
This week I’m…
More deeply with Ross J Barr Calm Patches to alleviate stress headaches and tension.
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on Hayu. Kathy Hilton is an ICON.
With Il Makiage F*ck I’m Flawless – I did a colour-match test online and they nailed it.