Sometimes you have to dig deep and find the reason for the guilt that’s holding you back. After all, you can’t work on something and start making improvements until you know exactly what it is. Digging deep and examining your feelings can get a little uncomfortable. Don’t let that deter you. Keep pushing through. It is well worth it and you’ll feel much better once you’ve faced your fears and dealt with your feelings of guilt.

Find a quiet place where you can think for a while without being interrupted. If you prefer, you can work through your feelings in writing using a journal or the likes. Some people find this helps them focus and stay on track. Otherwise, thinking through it can work just as well. If you find that you have a hard time pinpointing where your feelings of guilt are coming from, it can be helpful to talk it through with a trusted friend. Ideally, this is someone who knows you well and can guide you along the way. Encourage them to ask probing, open-ended questions until you get to the bottom of the matter.

Let’s say you have been thinking of doing a little freelance work as a writer while you’re home raising your young children, but a feeling of guilt stops you from taking the first steps to give it a try. When you sit down and start to examine these feelings you start with the idea that you will take away time you could spend with your children. As you think more about it this and start to imagine how it could work, you realize that you have time while they are napping or in preschool and that you will have even more time on your hands once they start school.

Digging a little deeper, you realize that you’re worried about how getting back into your old profession could be perceived by those around you. Your spouse may feel like you don’t have enough time for him, and the neighbors may think that you’re a bad wife and mother if you focus on your freelance career. By facing these thoughts, you realize how silly these fears are. In most households, both parents work and you would have the added benefit of a flexible schedule.

You start to feel a little better about the whole idea, but there’s still a knot in your stomach. There is one more feeling that’s holding you back and it’s the thought that’s manifesting as guilt. You realize that what you’re really worried about is that you won’t make it. You’ve been home for a few years and haven’t done much writing, freelance or otherwise. What if no one will give you a project to work on or publish your writing?

And before you know you have been able to find the reason for the guilt and you can do something about it.

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