Why You Feel Guilty When You Choose Work Over Family
According to Google, balance is defined as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. Balance is something that I don’t believe truly exists when it comes to work and life yet it something most of us fight with the most. Before you go on a tangent, hear this:
I used to say that I can’t find balance a lot. I used to want everything to fall into place and fit into this imaginative storyline I’ve painted for myself in regards to what I thought my life should look like. After a lot of self work, I believe I wasn’t looking for balance at all. Or, at least I’d been using the wrong word to describe my struggle. The thing I was looking for was acceptance.
When people talk about balance, they are talking about areas of their life operating perfectly (their definition of perfect) with all moving parts. Perhaps they envision a smooth schedule, a smooth or less bumpy relationship, a good job that compliments other things they aspire to do like travel. In other words, they want a logical amount of time to spend in each area of their life. They envision their perfect puzzle.
What life has revealed is one certainty: nothing is certain. The things we imagine can change at the blink of an eye. Life also reveals that balance is a mindset rather than a destination that most people are trying to reach. We are chasing a balanced life but the win is about maintaining a healthy mindset while operating in all moving parts.
Think about this...
Most of us Americans are taught the “American Dream” as a kid. “Go to school, get an amazing job, get married, have kids, buy a house, etc.”. Very few people, including me, accept the American Dream as our own.
We do things backwards or what’s frowned upon in our culture. We have children first. We go to school second. We may or may not get a good paying job to take care of the loans that we've collected along our educational journey. We are renting. Some of us are home owners. Others may or may not be married with or without the others factors that complete the dream. If you name it, there’s a combination of it somewhere.
Those of us who have rejected society standards and have decided to go the entrepreneurial route may struggle with the “work-life balance” term.
This happens because we give our attention to work instead of giving our attention to our kids, significant other, or both. Or, we spend time with our family which results in no work for us. Even if you have a team working for you, there is always absenteeism. The cycle never ends.
If you are struggling with guilt because you choose to work instead of spending time with your family, I want you to repeat this:
I am not neglecting my family, I am taking necessary risks to make sure they are well taken care of in the future because of my efforts now.
I am not neglecting my family, I am rejecting acceptance.
Let's break these statements down:
The first statement is your why. It is the reason why you started to take a leap of faith in the first place. It is the reason why you spend time away from your friends and family. It is the reason why you are so uncomfortable in the position you are in today.
The second statement is the reason why you feel guilty instead of proud. Here’s the hard pillow to swallow:
You knew it would take time to build. You knew it would temporarily take you away from the “now” yet you still decided to go for it. You are not neglecting them because “away” was expected. You are rejecting acceptance.
You should be proud that you don’t want to stick with the traditional American Dream that society painted for you. There's happiness outside of what others have defined as successful. I get it. It’s a tough little box to fit in.
If you can relate to any of this, you're not alone.
If you can relate to any of this, you are struggling with acceptance.
I want you to know something:
Lack exists in everything we do. An expense is present in every decision we make. The difficult pill to swallow is that everything has a risk or loss. Every decision, every reaction, every place, thing or person you choose directly involves risk of lacking in another place that doesn’t have your attention.
Once you accept that lack exist in everything and that you are sacrificing time away from your family so that their future is secured, choosing work will become more of a release and pleasure versus guilt and resentment.
If necessary, if you have to acknowledge why you truly work in the first place, go back to the first statement. Remind yourself why you started every time you get in your feelings about this.
If you have dreams and you are ambitious about accomplishing your goals, the sacrifice will always be worth it. We share the same struggle, but our efforts are all apart of the big picture! PIN this article and revisit this every single time you feel guilty about choosing work over not being productive at all: