Emotional Guilt

Have you ever heard someone bluntly observe: “there are children starving in Africa, you know.” It’s a sweeping, and more than a little offensive, comment used by people who have zero inclination to empathise with others – the ultimate cut down of absolutely any problem or emotion that you might have or feel. 

But maybe they’re right? Because in reality, I live in a nice house, have two lovely (most of the time) kids, we have food on the table – what right do I have to feel anxious, stressed, depressed? How dare I feel this way when others are going through such dreadful things??

This becomes a noisy, internalised narrative, a new anxiety all of its own – my feelings are petty, over-indulgent, selfish. I don’t have the right to feel this way. That thought permeates the brain and guilt undermines everything.

  • Guilt that I had a moan about the kids, when someone else can’t have them. 
  • Guilt that I found it overwhelming when 3 things broke in the house at once, when some people don’t have a house at all. 
  • Guilt that I felt sorry for myself when I was poorly, when there are children battling cancer. 

Ultimately it drives you, not only to not properly address your own problems, but to start to believe that you’re somehow a terrible person because of them. It’s a whole other reason why people don’t talk about these kinds of anxiety issues.

So let’s get this straight – we ALL have the right to feel, and to express those feelings. Our problems, and other people’s problems, are not mutually exclusive – both can, and do, exist at the same time. Our problems don’t diminish the struggles of others, and they don’t mean we’re not grateful for what we have. 

It’s OK for us to have our own emotions, to have problems from big and life-changing to small and petty, that affect our individual little lives. It’s OK, and it’s normal. Let’s absolve the guilt. Because guess what – our individual little lives are everything to us.

12 thoughts on “Emotional Guilt

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  1. This is so true. We are allowed to have our own feelings and work through those feelings without feeling guilty. Some feelings may seem small, but if you are not honest with your feelings over time they build into something bigger.


  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. Anxiety thrives on guilt & perpetuates the cycle. Our feelings are valid & it’s both frustrating & unkind when others try to tell us otherwise. Thank you for sharing such an honest post.
    Pixee ♡


  3. THIS! I totally agree. I remember when I was in school and my head of year was telling us how we should feel grateful about being in school, we should stop complaining about bullying and things like that. Our feelings are valid, there is no competition of who has it worse. Great post.


  4. This is such an important topic to talk about. It’s so easy to feel guilty for our feelings. But just because someone else has it worse doesn’t mean something doesn’t hurt.


  5. So true, we are all entitled to our own feelings, emotions and frustrations, free from guilt! I feel that pErspective can be useful in terms of helping us move on, but I do agree it should not be a source of guilt. Thank you for sharing.


  6. I agree with you. Balance makes the world go round. We’re allowed some emotional guilt, we just have to work in reigning them in if they get overwhelming!


  7. So true! I often use the “starving children in Africa” idea to curb my pride, so sometimes it’s not a bad thing. Other times it feels like i’m tearing myself down. Thanks for the post!


  8. We beat ourselves for feeling in a certain way, but we often forget that we are humans and we should feel all kinds of emotions.
    Loved the blog!!


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