Creativity Pathway #142: Get Beyond Guilt

I grew up in a community of pleasers, primarily women, who struggled to say “no.” Surrounded by people who believed it unthinkable to disappoint another, I watched as they, for example, stayed up until 3:00 AM making dozens of cookies for church picnics, hosted parties for 40 people after working overtime all week, attended events only to please those who had invited them, volunteered to single-handedly complete tasks that required several people…the list goes on and on. Perhaps it sounds familiar to you?

As you might imagine, this guilt-driven behavior was birthed in me as well. I too found myself saying “yes” until I was overextended and exhausted. I was in the habit of doing for the sake of others, rather than paying attention to what I actually wanted to do. And, I thought it was unkind to decline any request of me to serve, host, or help.

When we are caught in the cycle of saying “yes” because we shouldneed toor have to, we risk losing our sense of self. Our identify is lost among the voices of others, real or imagined. Until we learn to balance our human design to please others with our human design to recognize, respect, and honor our own needs, we will forever be victimized by guilt. 

English writer Alan Watts once said, “No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart.” In other words, accepting the role of martyr serves no one. Guilt is energy sapping. Guilt allows us to make choices that do not honor ourselves. And, the presence of guilt prevents us from being our full, creative selves. 

Coaching Inquiries: How much on your task list was born from guilt? How could you transform your “I should” and “I have-to do’s” into “I want to” and “I can”

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Creativity Coaching Programs and to arrange for a complementary Creativity coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Erika.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Erika Jackson (
LifeTrek Coaching International
Columbus, OH  •   U.S.A.

Telephone: 614-565-9953 • Fax: 208-977-7793
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