The Guilt Card isn’t the Trump Card 

I’ve been gone two days on a trip to Colorado. Spoke to my son for a while on the phone last and you’d think I’d been gone two years. He answered the phone with “Mommy….” In a very pathetic voice, followed by “I am sick” and goes on to detail all of the various symptoms in play.

Now this isn’t my first rodeo with this one…I know there is more to the story. I commiserate, tell him I wish I was there, we talk about how his basketball camp is going and he says he hates it…basically life is awful and I really need to come home and take care of him.

Then his dad, who is quite capable of taking care of all of this gets on the phone and I get a very different story: he had eaten a ton of Oreos, hot dogs and Mac and cheese and that was where the sickness came from, camp has been “great and fun” every time dad has asked…so the world probably won’t end if I don’t come rescue him.

This is just one of the challenges, one of the guilt positions we can find when we want to go and do something for ourselves. I am in Colorado, blowing glass, exploring my future home and having both me time and time with my partner creating a life. A life that yes, does include my child in the second most prominent position in it, with spirit coming first. I am willing to fight that battle against guilt, because we all deserve to beat it.

I am willing to let my son work his way through the separation anxiety, the learning to communicate with his dad, the difference between being with his dad full time and being with me most of the time, and discovering the impact of fresh yet non-organic food on his both his body and his spirit. And likely more that I am not even aware of. And I’ll talk to him every day over text or voice and he will be fine.

And so will I. I will be fine. I deserve this time. This is one of those times I am coaching me, putting the Art of Living Dangerously to work. If a client were in this position I’d be asking them to allow themselves the space and time, allow themselves the re-charge, reset and exploration time – to allow their spirit to fill. This is what I tell myself as we walk through this coaching session.

There are so many ways to talk yourself out of doing for you: money, time, other people’s needs, and on and on.   

But there is an even more important reason to do it: So that you can be the best you in all those places.   

This falls into my Art of Living Dangerously Principle: Feed Yourself First.   

You become the best you when you allow yourself to be full. You cannot give what you do not have and when you are low energy, you have no energy to give. Think about what you are truly gaining the next time you want you time and are tempted to deny yourself. Or the next time a family or friend whips out the guilt card when you want to say no to an obligation or yes to an opportunity. Your answer could be the very thing that actually serves their highest and best good as well.

Coach Yourself:

1. When was the last time you did something for you?

2. Have you ever caved to someone else’s desires and denied yourself something for you when it was within your power to do that thing for yourself?

3. What would be different if you did that something for yourself and allow the guilt card whippers to navigate their way through it?

I’d truly love to hear from you on this. Many of us, especially as parents, battle this guilt and our shared experiences can help us power through the next encounter!

Release Limits, Embrace Life, Live Dangerously.

Jennifer Murphy is a coach, teacher, mentor and leader at No Limits Life where she partners with the closet creatives, aspiring adventurers, and repressed rebels to move beyond expected success to create the kind of fulfilling life they crave. To learn more about Jennifer and her team visit

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