Give the Gift of No Guilt

– Posted in: Guilt, Holidays, Tammy Thinks

We’ve entered the season of giving — that time when we try to focus on others. On family. On friends.

It’s also the season of guilt.

I’m fortunately in place where my holiday plans are pretty easy (I know, don’t hate). That’s what happens when your mom dies and your dad runs off on a 90-day cruise around the world. Half of the pieces on my chess board have been eliminated.

But I hear still it everywhere from everyone else: Where are we spending Thanksgiving? Who’s traveling to whose house? Why isn’t she hosting this year? They got them last year. Oh no, don’t mind me, I’ll just be here, all alone

The holidays are like the rest of the year on steroids. A little microcosm of opportunities for you to screw up and offend people in a period of 6 weeks rather than 6 months. Someone will always feel left out. Someone will always feel slighted. Someone will always feel forgotten. And you know what?

You should just blow it off.

Now I say that breezily as though blowing people off and not caring what they think is the easiest thing in the world for me. It isn’t. I’m constantly stressing over making everyone happy. Worrying that I’m not checking in on friends who are having a hard time. Beating myself up at night because the sympathy cards I was supposed to send three weeks ago are still on my nightstand. Flipping out because I haven’t called this relative or that one because I can never seem to find a 15-minute window when the kids will talk.

But yeah, we just need to blow it off. It makes a person crazy. The fact is, there comes a point when the people who truly love you will understand — will have to understand — that you’re doing your best. Or at least doing what you can (and sometimes, that is your best).

And if you’re one of those people who’s on the other end of this — if you’re like my grandmother, who actually used to keep track of who failed to send her a Christmas card and then spurned them the next year (classic, right?) — then maybe ask yourself why. Why are you’re doing what you’re doing when you’re doing it. Ask yourself if you’re only giving with the expectation that you’ll be getting something back. And if that fits into your definition of love.

I have a good friend who believes in friendship without guilt. Every time I try to apologize for not being in touch for so long, she shuts me down. She’s running around like a chicken with her head cut off. She’s pretty sure I’m running around the same way. We give each other a pass.

Because that’s what true friends do. So if you want to be a really, really good friend this holiday season, give the gift of “no guilt.”

And don’t forget to include yourself on the list.

Give the Gift of No Guilt

 

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16 Comments… add one

K.M. OSullivan November 20, 2013, 2:52 pm

More than a holidays without guilt let’s go for a life without guilt, but the holidays is a good place to start. :)
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Tammy November 21, 2013, 11:48 am

Oh stop talking crazy. ;)

Andrea November 20, 2013, 7:19 pm

What an absolutely fantastic idea!

Tammy November 21, 2013, 11:48 am

Thanks! See, we can all just wrap up empty boxes. It’s kind AND economical.

LW November 21, 2013, 3:32 am

Bravo! Well said. :)

Tammy November 21, 2013, 11:49 am

Thanks Lynette!

vanita November 21, 2013, 3:45 am

We spend Christmas home, together. The only person I invite is my mom. Not because I’m a hermit, though I feel like one, but because it’s time off when my family can be together. Everyday we’re hustling to get somewhere, do something, get something done, we barely have an hour each day for one another, so I cherish the holidays because we’re together and frankly soon these kiddos are going to grow up and be gone. I don’t want to think back on our holidays as being more hustle. If I’m “suppose” to feel any guilt over not showing up at extended family parties or not gifting others, believe me, I don’t. (Could be why I’m the black sheep, but that’s ok). And those friends who are still friends, have been my friends for at least 10 years, so they totally get me and when we do chat, even if it’s been months since the last time, it feels like it was yesterday. I say do what makes you feel good, what brings joy to your heart. Everyone else can jump…
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Tammy November 21, 2013, 11:50 am

The other day, I went through one of those, “It’s going too fast!” moments. So yes, you have to guard this time with your life.

BTW, if you don’t talk to me for a week, I’ll never forgive you… :D

Elaine Schoch November 21, 2013, 8:28 am

Love it. Can I wrap it up and put it under the tree too? =)
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Tammy November 21, 2013, 11:52 am

I was just saying, we should all wrap up empty boxes. It’s so much cheaper!

Poppy November 21, 2013, 11:34 am

I’d seriously like to join your dad on his 90 day cruise. The guilt kills me.
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Tammy November 21, 2013, 11:52 am

No kidding. My dad is clearly the smartest person out of everyone in this scenario. He and his girlfriend are currently cruising around Australia. Bummer, right?

Cher November 21, 2013, 3:58 pm

So true! Last year my parents went to my sister’s house for Christmas… Did I care? Nope! Much less pressure on me!!
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Tammy November 21, 2013, 10:35 pm

Haha! That’s awesome.

Maxabella November 27, 2013, 3:22 am

Every friend I’ve ever had has an automatic ‘Get out of jail free’ card. I’ve never understood obligation for obligation’s sake. We are all in this together. x
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Andrea December 7, 2013, 7:00 pm

Oh, man, I love this. From the description of the holidays being like the rest of the year on steroids to the no-guilt friend, it was perfection. Thanks for reminding us that it’s okay if we don’t do it all.
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