The Suitcase Lady


August 19, 2014, 9:33 pm

I will not feel guilty for suggesting that guilt is a women’s problem. I’m not implying that men don’t have problems; guilt is just not a big priority for them.

Women are taught to feel guilt at an early age. We were brought up to be good (choose one: Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Protestant) girls. And we will remain girls if we don’t shed our crippling guilt trips.

Guilt should be reserved for the big stuff, like committing a homicide or stealing from the poor. It should not be felt when we fail to balance the checkbook, use Jiffy Pie Crust mix, omit washing and recycling the peanut butter jar or eat a Snickers Bar.

Lisa Scottoline in her new book, Have a Nice Guilt Trip, suggests that guilt is a great motivator for getting things done. I would counter that guilt is a great way to turn ourselves into outer directed people, and that outer directed people rarely appear to be bubbling over with happiness. I clean my house because beauty and order give me joy, not because some “they” says that cleanliness is next to godliness.

A direct spawn of the guilt trap is our excessive use of the words, “I’m sorry”. Count the number of times we say or hear that phrase in one day. Saying, “I’m sorry I overcooked the peas,” is a ridiculous statement. Save the sorrow for situations involving living beings in pain. I believe the correct word for the peas is “oops”.

After all these years, I’m still making a concerted effort to reverse the guilt training drilled into me by a flock of Notre Dame nuns in the 1950s. And I’m eager to say to any of my female friends, “don’t feel guilty”…….unless, of course, you just robbed a bank.

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