10 tips to stop feeling guilty about doing what's best for you 

It can be easy to find ourselves caught in the web of societal expectations, constantly striving to please others and meet perceived standards of perfection. We juggle numerous roles – as caretakers, professionals, partners, and friends – and can often neglect our own needs and desires in the process. The result? A pervasive sense of guilt when we dare to prioritize ourselves. But here's the truth: self-care is not selfish. It's a fundamental necessity for our well-being and fulfilment.


Yet, breaking free from the guilt of putting ourselves first can be a daunting task. So, how do we navigate this journey toward self-empowerment and self-compassion?

Embracing your worth

Here are some strategies to help you embrace your worth and release the guilt.

1. Recognise the roots of the guilt

Understanding the origins of your guilt can be a useful first step toward overcoming it. Reflect on the messages you received growing up about selflessness and sacrifice. Were you taught that your needs should always come last? Recognise that these beliefs may be deeply ingrained but not necessarily true or helpful for your life now. 

2. Embrace imperfection

Perfectionism often fuels feelings of guilt because it sets impossible standards. Remind yourself that you don't have to be flawless to be deserving of love and care. Embrace the concept of "good enough" and allow yourself to make mistakes without judgment. 

3. Practice self-compassion

Cultivate a compassionate inner dialogue. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a dear friend facing similar struggles. Acknowledge your humanity and imperfections, and remind yourself that you are worthy of love and self-care, just as you are. 

4. Set and hold boundaries

Boundaries are essential for preserving your well-being and asserting your needs. Practice saying no when something doesn't align with your priorities or values. There may be feelings of guilt at the beginning, and the more you practice, the more you will feel the benefits of holding your boundaries and the guilt will dissipate. Remember that prioritising yourself is not a luxury but a necessity for a sustainable life. 

5. Shift your perspective

Challenge the belief that prioritising yourself is inherently selfish. Consider the ripple effect of self-care. When you are nourished and fulfilled, you have more to give to others authentically. Recognise that honouring your needs ultimately benefits not only yourself but also those around you. 

6. Reframe guilt as a signal for change

Instead of suppressing feelings of guilt, use them as valuable feedback. Ask yourself why you feel guilty and what it reveals about your inner conflicts or unmet needs. Use this insight to make intentional choices that align with your values and priorities. 

7. Seek support

Surround yourself with a supportive community that encourages and uplifts you on your journey toward self-compassion. Share your struggles and triumphs with trusted friends, family members, or a coach who can offer guidance and validation.

8. Practice mindfulness

Cultivate present-moment awareness to quiet the inner critic and tune into your authentic desires and needs. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, or journaling can help you reconnect with yourself and cultivate a greater sense of inner peace. 

9. Celebrate your wins

Acknowledge and celebrate every step you take toward prioritising yourself. Whether it's setting a boundary, practising self-care, or simply challenging guilt-inducing thoughts, recognise your progress and pat yourself on the back. 

10. Lead by example

As you embrace self-compassion and prioritise your well-being, you become a beacon of inspiration for others to do the same. By modelling healthy boundaries and self-care practices, you empower those around you to honour their own needs and worth.

Remember, letting go of guilt is a process, not a destination. Be patient and gentle with yourself as you navigate this journey toward self-empowerment and fulfilment. Embrace self-compassion as your guiding light, and trust that by doing what's best for you, you're not only honouring yourself but also paving the way for a more authentic and fulfilling life. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol, City of Bristol, BS7
Written by Clare Sutton, ACC ICF Life Coach / Confidence / Fulfilment / Purpose
Bristol, City of Bristol, BS7

Clare Sutton is a fully accredited Professional Life Coach (ACC ICF) supporting people to feel confident and empowered to create their most fulfilling lives, in whatever way that means for them. Her ethical and evidence-based practice offers her clients truly transformational coaching experiences.

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