By Ranessa Chavez-Krause, Stichting Bayanihan Board Member Trainee & Juniors Coordinating Team Member
Let me start by giving you the statistics and dropping a question.
90% of mothers feel guilty (working and stay-at-home mothers), and 96% of women feel guilty at LEAST once a day, based on the most recent study conducted by Europe’s Journal of Psychology.
Why is there a need to spread awareness about this matter and for women to pull these statistics down?
You see, guilt is a powerful emotion that can demotivate and could pull your confidence down, confidence from your self-image, actions – from very small to big life-changing decisions. On a positive note – when guilt is transformed into something constructive, it becomes a power for you to produce something incredible and leads you to tremendous personal growth.
Do not get me wrong, guilt is not an exclusive membership clubhouse that only women get VIP passes. Guilt does not choose gender, race, nor age. We all suffer from it, though we women, are more prone and handle guilt differently than men.
We still live in a time and age that talking about your guilt is not just a social taboo but also something that I call an inner taboo. The majority of women have the mindset that makes us feel ashamed to talk about the guilt we are feeling even with our safety nets (partner, family, close friends). It is because of the fear of being immediately judged, condemned, or corrected. It is ok to be judged, to be condemned, and to be corrected – because those moments and the words you will hear are needed and most likely appropriate at that exact moment. I am not saying it will not be painful, but it is needed. Remember, they are your safety nets for a reason.
One thing that we have to start learning is that it’s OK to talk and listen to your guilts, all emotions that you are feeling are valid and there for a reason. As I mentioned before, guilt is a very powerful emotion. When we feel guilt, we usually do 1 of these 2 things – we either shrug it off and tell ourselves “Girl, what are you thinking?? It’s not a big deal.” Or, we start to overthink. The next time you feel guilt, try to stand in between. How do you do that?
Well, we have to assess, amend, and correct.
First, ask yourself. Dig deep where is this guilt coming from?
Is it something that your authentic self believes or is this a guilt that you believe because you were brought up believing it’s something you should be guilty about?
Is it your sensitivity and kindness to people that are making you feel guilty or it’s something your society and culture passed to you?
If the guilt is coming from your authentic self, then our 2nd step is to make amends – accept and apologize not just to the person you feel guilty with but also to yourself.
Lastly, is to correct the effects of the actions connected to your guilt and do not forget to embrace the lessons you’ve learned from it.
Let’s go back to my question, Why is there a need to spread awareness about this matter and for women to pull these statistics down?
We have these high statistics because the root cause of women’s guilt is women. The University of Arizona found through a study that women are often meaner to each other than men are to women. It shows that women are often the main perpetrators of making other women feel bad. That is why we have terms like the Queen Bee, Tiger mom, Terror mother-in-law. It is also women who are perpetrators and victims of passed-down limiting beliefs and expectations, such as women should be great with household chores, to bear a child, to get married, to give up their job, to raise the child based on a certain way, and the list goes on – these expectations and limiting beliefs are set by Women who are also mothers, mother-in-law, daughter, sister, and friend. Women caused these statistics and we must pull it down for the generation of young women of the future.
If you are the one at the receiving end of these expectations and limiting beliefs and it causes your guilt, break the chain of Women Guilt now.
Start by being kind to yourself and listen to your inner voice.
SOURCES: www.ourworldindata.org, Europe’s Journal of Psychology
If you won’t paddle your own canoe, you won’t move.Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza
Our bodies are gardens to which our wills are gardeners.Karen Suarez
Cheers for making life easier especially in this difficult time knowing that we are there for each other to defend and to support.Evelyn Grooteman-Castillo
I will always be committed to contribute towards the empowerment of women.Maya Butalid
Participation is more important than winning. So let’s continue to keep solidarity, empowerment and fulfilment alive.Myra Colis
If you find someone you love in your life, then hang-on to that love.Veronica Balbuena
Cheers to women who connect and influence other women by utilizing their talents, skills and knowledge to be able to create a sustainable change.Agnes van de Beek-Pavia
A real woman will always pick up the pieces, rebuild herself and come back stronger than ever.Ranessa Chavez