How I’m learning to appreciate what life and my own hard work is giving me.
Successes I should feel good about but instead feel guilty about:
- Starting with two challenging years to graduate from High School with a degree that was meant to prove to my father that I could get it, rather than something I wanted to do.
- Followed by seven months as an Au Pair Girl abroad to avoid taking a sabbatical year because I didn’t know which studies to do.
- Completing a Bachelor abroad in four years instead of three after failing my Thesis. Spending the first two years of the program learning English and the program itself because I didn’t have the basics.
- Succeeding in completing a one-year Master (also abroad), while mixing the research for my thesis with a six-months internship.
- Spending these same six months by following intense emotional trainings from Public Speaking, to Leadership, Coaching Skills, and Nero-Linguistic Program offered by the company in which I did my internship.
But I did it
It’s been four weeks since I officially finished my Master, the thesis, the trainings, and the internship. I spent the first two weeks trying to start some new personal projects such as starting my own company.
The 3third week ‘unexpectedly’ turned into a week full of cry and sleep. The fourth week slowly moved to taking it easy and visiting some friends.
I am getting into the fifth week of my new post-graduate student life by starting giving myself permission to rest and take it easy.
And I finally allow myself to take some rest.
Starting a New Chapter Based on What ‘I Want to Do’
Over the last month, I have been feeling stressed, anxious, edgy, annoyed, emotional, confused, lost, exhausted, and guilty.
Guilty for having the chance of not having to worry about money, while living my own life far from my parents’ place. Guilty from having completed so many things and still feeling that it’s not enough.
Guilty from knowing that I have time to relax, but not knowing what to do with it, and feeling awkward about it.
As I am writing this article, I can visualize the bigger picture I want for myself and my life. I have a list of things I could start doing (small steps) to give myself a chance to succeed. And yet, the thought of me being able to do what I want instead of what I have to do makes me freeze.
While being in my 20s, I’m realizing more and more how strongly I have been shaped by our society in believing that I have to do whatever others think I should do.
Until the last day of my Master, I was 100% convinced of all the things I would do and say once I would be ‘free’ from that framework that the university, the internship, or my family gave me.
And weirdly enough, the day I actually became ‘free’ from these frameworks, I panic, I put pressure on myself, and I freeze.
I believe that what I am going through is all about letting go, accepting and acknowledging what I have accomplished so far, and thanking myself for it.
It is also about thanking my body as well as my brain for having performed all these years by rewarding them through relaxation.
I am one of these people who think that all the time I spend into relaxing is a huge amount of wasting time. After all, since I know what I want for myself, why can’t I start earlier?
In most cases, I’ve always been one of the students to hand my papers a week or two before the deadline. Rushing into finishing whatever I had to finish in order to give myself more free time. And now that I have it, it seems I’m struggling with enjoying it because of guilt.
And of course, it turns these weeks that I am trying to give to myself to relax as being counter-productive, since I spent most of the time feeling guilty for having this time.
How to Break this Pattern of Guilt?
I am not sure I have it all figured out yet, but here is what I learned from it so far and how it could help you:
- You deserve to take it easy for a few weeks or months.
- Repeat to yourself that you’re grateful for what you have, no matter how ‘small’ it seems to be.
- Acknowledge your emotions, no matter how negative they can be.
- Ask yourself everyday what you want to do, even for the smallest things.
- Boredom and silence are also part of life, embrace them.
- Talk (or write) about it to bring awareness to it.