How to break the shame, guilt and anxiety cycle

The pressure of keeping everything going and running smoothly can fill me with anxiety and on the verge of burnout.

Some days life can really get on top of me, I post birthday cards too late, I don’t prepare anything the night before, I read messages and don’t respond for days and I never have any cash on me. It’s my own fault of course and I end up feeling guilty.

Shame comes and goes but it’s important to know the difference, shame is ‘I’m not good enough, I’ve failed’ and guilt is ‘I did something bad’. Shame is the most difficult spiral to get out of, its very destructive.

So where does this pressure come from? Us or is it external?

Is it just our culture and feeling the need to do more, to be seen as being in control and present ourselves, homes, families and careers in a perfect, filtered and curated way? We can see into so many peoples lives now, we know so much more through videos and pictures, whether they are authentic or not; we still aspire to do better.

This sort of aspiration is unobtainable, unrealistic and doesn’t serve us, it won’t make you feel happier or more complete. It’s sold and marketed to us but we don’t need it.

I’m making the conscious decision to ignore the external pressure and follow my own path, especially this time of year when there is more stuff to add to the daily grind. Father Christmas makes everything magical, actually no scrap that, it’s me, I make it magical and I cant do that and enjoy it if I’m wound up and stuck in my own head.

Shame, guilt and anxiety keeps us in our thoughts so try talking to yourself the way you’d talk to someone you love, reach out to someone you trust and tell your story. Don’t isolate yourself, don’t let fear stop you from talking to someone. It’s ok to ask for help, you won’t have to face the problem alone.

Remember that you don’t have to be perfect, everyone has bad days, small steps are progress, asking for help is a strength and people love and appreciate you.

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