One of the biggest challenges in my life has been struggling with guilt for wanting anything more.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
If you have healthy children, you might feel guilty for ever complaining about, well anything at all, because some people deal with babies with cancer and heart transplants and stuff you think you can’t imagine until you are forced to deal with it.
If you have a perfectly good job, like oh say, working as a nurse, you may beat yourself up and wonder why on earth you think you deserve to leave it to pursue a crazy dream like writing.
If you have kid and want more time for yourself to paint or draw or create or just sit in 10 minutes of freaking silence, you might have a particular form of motherhood guilt.
I know you feel me on this one, right?
So the first step I found to freeing up myself to finding opportunities to work at home was actually one that sounds simple in theory but was incredibly hard in reality:
Giving myself permission to live a life I loved.
I’ve always struggled with guilt–guilt for being born in a place with running water, for instance. Who am I to dream about a job I love when there are literally people out there without any water today? Who am I to worry about such frivolity as happiness when others are dying by the minute, lacking any basic necessities?
I know these are the realities of life and I still struggle with this. But opening myself up to a life that is meaningful to me has also opened me up to more financial freedom–and the gift of being able to help others in ways that previously were not possible.
For me, giving myself permission to quit a job that I hated as a nurse and turn to writing full-time has changed my life for the better, more than I ever thought possible.
For me, being my own boss has been rewarding beyond measure. To have the chance to be home with my children and to have that flexibility to be there whenever they need me (um, always?) is a gift to our entire family.
For me, having the opportunity to not only support our family, but to give my husband the same gift of choosing work that he loves, has shown me that anything is possible.
Today, I won’t say that I have completely conquered the battle of guilt, because I still struggle with it on a daily basis.
But I know a few things from experience now:
1. The desires of our hearts don’t magically go away. Whatever it is you’re dreaming–whatever more you want–isn’t just going to disappear overnight.
2. Denying what feeds your soul will kill you. I mean this, I really do. You’re made to do great things, whatever those gifts are, and denying them will literally slowly eat away at your soul and eventually, your physical health. We are complicated creatures, us humans, and health isn’t just about what you eat and how much you move your body. It’s also about soul food.
3. Giving yourself permission may lead to better things. I was so obsessed with guilt over leaving my nursing job that I never considered what kind of blessings could come into my life as a result of following my own dreams. Besides my personal happiness (which, I would have to argue, does matter too, despite my protests), the gifts to our family of having me home, to my husband of seeing me fulfilled and having a happy wife for once, and the financial gifts it’s been to our family. What was I so afraid of?
So, look. I get it. It’s hard to fight that feeling of guilt about what you want when many of us have so much already. But I believe those desires are placed on us for the greater good–so give yourself permission to go after them.
Image via Unsplash/Julia Caesar