Thursday, May 24, 2012

Overcoming Guilt

Guilt


I'm living in a state of guilt right now. I'm guilty because the apartment is not clean (really need to clean those bathrooms and use the Dyson). I'm guilty because I'm not swimming as often as I should (it's been about a month now). I'm guilty because I'm not writing enough on my novel (there's this whole fear of writing something bad that's absolutely paralyzing). I'm guilty because I'm not leaving comments on my friends' blogs (curse my slow reading skills and verbose writing). I'm guilty because I'm not staying in touch with old friends (or staying connected with family as I should).

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So I've decided to stop the guilt. Because its crushing, de-habilitating, and isn't resulting in any good behaviors. And love is struggling to breathe with all this suffocating guilt. And rather than pledging to new goals or setting new targets in a vain attempt to motivate myself, I'm re-evaluating some out-of-whack priorities. And I'm sharing these new priorities with you just in case you're struggling to stand upright under your own burden of guilt.
  • Health: Health is paramount but it's always taking a back seat. Health is not just about eating right or exercising or drinking enough water. It's really about discipline - of which I am in desperate need. So I have to get up out of my chair and start moving (swimming preferably). Health is now priority number one and every day I have to make time for it.

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  • Novel: My novel is never going to be completed unless I give it the much needed attention it so desperately needs. So I have no choice but to make this priority number two. Instead of hoping for some spare moments each week, I'm dedicating time specifically to writing and nothing else. Period.

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  • Relationships: My family and friends frequently get bumped to the side when I'm "busy" with online promotion of my blog across the varied social networks. That has to end. Personal relationships are what matter, not self-promotion or pandering to audiences. So from here on forward, my time on social networks will be primarily focused on building relationships. Forgive me if I'm quieter on Twitter or Pinterest or Google+. I'm simply trying to regain a healthy life balance.

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  • Stats: I love food and I love to cook, but the whole point of food should be about expressing love. Too often, I find myself getting distracted by worthless measurements like the number of comments, the click-rate, the number of subscribers, frequency of tweets, or the number of Facebook likes. But that stuff is pointless because it has nothing to do with love - it's purely narcissistic. So it ends now.

    Google Stats
    • I'm not looking at my Feedburner or Google Stats. I'm not checking the number of followers of page views. I will not count comments. 
    • There will be no reciprocal commenting and no "follow backs". No more feeling-guilty-because-someone-left-a-comment and jumping-over-to-"pay back" the favor. 
    • If I love a post (or if it sparks my interest), you'll hear from me. And if you love a post of mine, I hope I'll hear from you. But I don't love everything I read and I know you won't love everything I post either. So don't feel compelled to drop me a comment if I've left you one. And don't expect me to leave you a comment if you've left me one.
       
  • Recipe Development: I want all the food I share to be thoroughly tested with reliably repeatable results - and so far I think I've succeeded. But I need to devote more time to original recipe development. Did you know I've been working on a chocolate cake since January? And the recipe still isn't ready. Did you know I've been working on chocolate chip cookies since September? And only yesterday did I finally decide it's ready to share.

    Homemade Chocolate Cake

    The point is, recipe development can take months of testing, tweaking, and retesting to ensure results are reliable and repeatable. And to find the time, I'm going to have to restrict my participation in blog-hops and challenges. This saddens me because I love so many of them, but rather than letting guilt overwhelm me, I will simply be honest about my limitations. Sorry - I love the many awesome blog challenges and those who run them - I just can't participate frequently.
So besides a bullet laundry list of personal priorities, what does all this mean? Well, I will be exercising more, writing more, and cooking more. I will be spending less time promoting my blog on social spaces and I will not be participating in reciprocal behaviors.

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I will be focused on developing relationships, both online and with personal friends and family. I will still be reading your blogs and dropping comments on posts that inspire me. I will be still be hosting Made with Love Mondays, featuring my friends as Tuesday Tutors and highlighting my favorite food finds in the Friday Food Fetish series.

Hopefully as I re-prioritize, I will become a better cook, a better writer, a better blogger, a better boyfriend, a better son, a better brother, a better friend - a better person, I guess. And my success or failure in any one of these areas will ultimately be driven by one thing: love, not guilt. So goodbye guilt.

I've got new priorities now.

LoveWord

18 comments:

  1. Amen! I totally hear you about getting wrapped up in the stats and such of blogging. Don't forget to be kind to yourself!

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    1. Thanks for the understand and support, Danielle. I need to print this off to remind myself of these priorities...

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  2. I've let my blog go by the wayside the past few months as well as my social media accounts. I feel a bit guilty about it, however the balance needs to be maintained and I was way out of balance. Great article. :)

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    1. I can certainly see how life balance could get thrown seriously out of whack by blogging and the crazy rush to "keep up". I'm glad you appreciated the post - now I just need to keep these priorities straight!

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  3. Wonderful and Kudos to you! I've been contemplating much of the same and I think it's high time I too get my priorities in order. Indeed, "Your Health is Your Wealth" and what do all those stats mean if you don't have someone meaningful to share them with.

    Thanks so much for sharing...

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    1. Very, very true, Louise. I must admit that when I manage to keep my health is check, everything else seems to improve. Which is one of the reasons it's now my #1 priority...

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  4. I hate the numbers game and there is a lot of mechanisms in Foodbuzz as well as in blogger that drive you into it. Yes we do want our posts to be seen, but by how many, what cost of our own time and at what point are we satisfied with that number? Also, then you have to maintain that point you got to- 100 comments today and two tommorrow representing an obvious decline.
    Kudos to you for closing the door on numbers, makes me start thinking more about it myself.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head perfectly, Tina - I do hope my blog impacts other people's lives positively and so automatically I think that means that I hope other people will read my blog. But it's such a dangerously slippery slope from seeking to make a difference to seeking followers for the sake of followers... I'm hoping that ignoring stats entirely will help me break narcissistic tendencies ;)

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  5. Sounds like a very healthy outlook on your life. The more you are there for yourself, the more you are there for everyone else. I've had to watch my online stuff because it can take me under. I've dumped some stuff I used to do and focused on what I really wanted to do. Usually I am not one that comments a lot on anything but if a post really touches me, than I just share in the moment, whatever thought is on my mind. I don't really worry too much on comments because I figure if the same thing happens with other people, they'll comment appropriately. Plus, if I ever get bored, I can always "read" those comments that otherwise would come through as spam. Sometimes those even make me laugh! Bottom line is we have to take care of ourselves... otherwise, we just can't be there for anyone (including ourself). Love your priorities!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and wisdom, Don. And it is sometimes funny the random spam that makes it thru. You're also right that we have to take care of ourselves before we can truly help anyone else. Sometimes that's easy to overlook...

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  6. I'm having the same blogger guilt. I just can't keep up with commenting...and the house and family suffer when I'm glued to the computer! SO I totally understand your predicament...and I'm glad you are able to let it all go and focus on what's important. Send some of your strength my way, my friend!

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    1. ::fingers at temples with eyes squeezed shut:: I'm sending strength your way, Lizzy! And the guilt really has to go because it truly doesn't help with anything. And you're amazing because you manage to fit in so much - amazing food, amazing photos, tons of challenges, activity everywhere... But definitely take care of yourself and loved ones first...

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  7. Here's the thing...Sometimes that is why I might only post like once a week and sometimes I might lapse. Why? Because I think it is truly important to have time for yourself, family and friends. Don't get me wrong, I think sharing to everyone what you have produced in the kitchen is great, but what does that do to those who truly care (i.e., your family/friends)? You are doing the right thing and prioritizing what is important. You are a great individual and what is so wrong about loving yourself every once in a while, but you know what...I would opt more for embracing guilt. Because without guilt..your consciousness..then what would happen? I mean as the sayings go...to err is human...to be guilty is to have feelings. Resolve what you need to resolve, but know that its ok to feel guilty every now and again. I do that when I have my loved ones, but luckily they do understand..and give love regardless. Just saying.

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    1. I completely agree with putting family and friends first - relationships are far more important than maintaining a blog or building an audience, etc. Regarding guilt I think I agree with what you're saying. I certainly embrace self-introspection and a moral compass. In fact, I think introspection and a moral compass are absolutely critical to living with love. Any guilt arising from introspection or evaluating my actions against a moral compass means I need to take action to change my behavior because as you say, I'm feeling the guilt for a reason. In the case of my recent guilt, it's arising from some bad habits and unrealistic expectations. Thus, new priorities ;)

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  8. Wish you hugely well, sounds like an incredibly positive, healthy and happy-making change. x

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  9. PS, I never leave comments in expectation or even hope of one back. I leave them because I have enjoyed or been touched by content and want to aknowledge my reactions. Or sometimes share some relevant thought.
    In terms of comments left on my blog, if people leave them assuming they'll get a return one, many will be disappointed... sometimes I do visit the links within comments left on my blog, if someone has said something that's particularly intrigued me, but I dont feel obliged to, nor obliged to comment.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words and it sounds like your approach to comments is healthy and one I aspire to follow. Because leaving a genuine comment really is much more meaningful than a comment motivated by guilt ;)

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  10. A refreshingly honest post! I'm glad you have your priorities sorted. Blogging and keeping up with it is like a full time job and I often feel guilty if I don't post frequently. I never knew about the whole stats thing until late last year and I don't let it bother me (mostly because I'm ignorant!) I leave comments because I want to not because I feel I have to or I would like a reciprocal comment. Good luck with getting your new priorities in oder - be strong and be true to yourself! :)

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