Indulging Without Guilt

From time to time, I want to share articles I come across pertaining to happiness and/or the obstacles one encounters in its pursuit. I’ve been doing a lot of “happy research” lately, so hopefully “Happiness in the News” will become a regular feature.

As I’ve mentioned, I have issues with guilt. Thus, this article on Mindful Indulging by Dr. Sharada Hall (via Tiny Buddha), really spoke to me.

[OK, don’t get stuck at the beginning. I didn’t know what Ayurveda was either. That’s not the point. If you are curious, however, it’s a traditional form of medicine native to India. Now you don’t have to visit Wikipedia and can focus on the wisdom Dr. Hall offers.]

Dr. Hall speaks particularly of guilt pertaining to food indulgences (e.g., the negative feelings that can consume us when we “cheat” on our diets). She argues that if you are going to indulge, be mindful and moderate. To me, the idea of mindfulness – of being aware of your actions – is crucial (at the very least so you can be present in the moment and enjoy the indulgence).

While Dr. Hall’s article is – at least at a broad glance – about food-related guilt, her insights can be applied to other situations. I find that I frequently attach guilt to events that do not warrant such negative feelings. Why am I so quick to accept blame? Why do I feel blame needs to be assigned in the first place? As Dr. Hall points out, obsessing about an action perceived as negative is often worse than the action itself.

Personally, my biggest insight came from the final two lines of the piece:

“Go for it and let it go, or leave it behind altogether. Either do it and love it without clinging, or don’t do it at all.”

Part of my guilt complex comes from hanging on to past events long after they’ve expired. I need to learn to let these things go. While it is important to be mindful while indulging, it’s also important to be mindful afterward and move forward with a clear conscience.

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About Helena

Helena lives in Chicago with her boyfriend and two cats. Her boyfriend thinks she's awesome. Her cats agree.

Posted on March 18, 2011, in Pop Culture Commentary and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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