Is Guilt Sabotaging Your Self-Care?



Over the past few weeks, a theme in my client sessions has been self-sabotage.

One client was having trouble taking action to lose weight.

She told me in our session, ”You know I struggle with self-care. Other than our appointments I have a hard time committing to doing ANYTHING for myself.”

“Wait! That is not true!” I said.

“You have shared how meditating has been helping you. I know you do your essential oil homework I give you. You have been enjoying cooking lately, too!

Doesn’t any of this count?

This IS self-care!

And I bet there are more things like this you are not acknowledging. You’re doing things you like to do and they give you energy; it’s important to acknowledge yourself for this.

Rather than focusing on what you’re not doing, let’s capitalize on what you are! 

Let’s look at what you ARE doing and what these activities give you:

What does meditating give you?”

She replied, “peace and grounding.”

Lara: “What is the result of feeling more peaceful and grounded?”

Client: “I feel more focused and capable.”

Lara: “How does cooking make you feel?“

Client: “Nourished and creative.”

Lara: “How do the essential oil exercises I give you make you feel?“

Client: Powerful

Lara: “Whoo-hoo! That makes me so happy to hear!

What is the result of these activities for you? How does it feel to be more focused, capable, nourished, creative, and powerful!?”

Client: “I feel fulfilled.

I am better. I feel better.

It’s a good day. 

I am more productive.  

I am happier.“

Lara: “This is why you “should” give yourself what you need!!!

It’s important for you to note the payoff–you are getting a lot of value from these things, so it makes sense that you make time for them.”

Client: “And still it’s an internal fight within me to do them sometimes. When I don’t take the time for it, it’s because my guilt puts something before it like I have to answer emails or I have to do what’s on my to-do list.”

Lara: “You have to check something off the list or what? What happens if you take time for yourself instead?”

Client: “If I don’t get something done, maybe I don’t matter?”

I asked her to say this for me to see how it felt. I invite you to check in with yourself and see how this statement feels to you, too———>

“It’s safe to give myself what I want.”

How did that feel?

Did it bring up any anxiety or stress for you?

If you feel any anxiety from that statement, it doesn’t feel totally safe for you to give yourself what you want.

Don’t worry, we are going to work with this in the exercise below.

My client was actually strong for that. It felt true to her.

So, I tried the following statement next. Pay attention to how you feel as you read this.

“It’s safe to give myself what I need.”

How did that statement feel?

Any different? Did it bring up any anxiety or stress for you?

If you feel any anxiety from that statement, it doesn’t feel totally safe for you to give yourself what you need.

We are going to work with this in the exercise below as well.

My client got nervous when she said this last statement.

There was an interesting distinction between giving herself what she wanted and what she needed.

She explained that she wasn’t allowed to have needs as a kid.

She recounted her mom said things like, “You don’t need that; stop being a baby.”

“Buck up, we have to do this first.”

Having needs equaled weakness. Having needs annoyed her mother and made her feel unworthy when she was a child.

While she was able to get things she wanted like a specific present she wanted for her birthday, she was often unable to get her everyday needs met.

So now, giving herself the care she needed, that helped her feel fulfilled, felt strangely threatening. It actually brought up feelings of unworthiness because of her history.

Those feelings of unworthiness and guilt coupled with her own self-criticism for not being able to take action to begin any kind of fitness activity was the barrier to getting started.

Why would you want to start anything that brought up feelings of unworthiness, guilt, and criticism? Every time she thought of beginning, these feelings were present.

When starting a weight loss program feels this bad emotionally, who would want to do it?!

I also believe self-criticism is something that actually promotes weight gain. Extra weight is often put on for protection. When one is subject to repeated criticism, from self or another, extra weight can be a subconscious physical buffer, protection against the hurt which can come with criticism. In the case of self-criticism, it’s a rejection of self.

The bottom line–you are perfect, whole, and complete as you are right now. And, you can make choices that help you change anything in your life, including your weight.

But don’t ask yourself to do anything that feels bad for any length of time. Because who wants to do anything that doesn’t feel good!

I took my client through my Self-Care Worksheet to help her determine the self-care activities that felt good to her and that she could practically incorporate into her lifestyle.

All self-care needs to feel good and nurturing to you. Anything you feel you “should” do and doesn’t actually feel good afterward, isn’t self-care.

Yes, it is healthy to exercise but not at an intensity that doesn’t feel good. There are so many ways to exercise that are inspiring and mood-lifting, finding a way to do it that leaves you feeling energized, even inspired, is easier than ever before!

Meaningful self-care gives you energy and inspiration; it is something I now see as important as eating and sleeping.

You would never go on a road trip without putting gas in your tank, right? So taking the time to give yourself energy and inspiration is like putting the gas you need in your tank. In the Self-Care Worksheet, you can determine what types of self-care fill your tank and give you the energy to live your best life.

Whenever anything seems hard, my go-to is energy work. As I nurture myself with it, I always feel better and am able to be more efficient afterward.

I find I can get more accomplished with less energy when I give myself what I need.

Are you able to give yourself what you need on a consistent basis?

Do you feel worthy of giving yourself your own time and attention?

If not, or if you felt anxious saying the phrases above, try this emotional reset exercise in the video below to help you feel more comfortable giving yourself the time and care you need and deserve.

Be sure to fill out the Self-Care Worksheet–click here to download it now. It’s designed to help you figure out the most nurturing, energizing, and inspiring self-care for you and how often it feels best to do it!

If this resonates with you and you know someone who could benefit, please share this link with them.❤️

So much love, inspiration and energy!


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lara riggio

Lara Riggio is an Energy Intuitive. Her videos, classes, and sessions have helped tens of thousands discover and heal the mind/body, ancestral, and past life blocks which sabotage health and happiness. She is based in New York City, and works out of her Central Park Energy Center in Columbus Circle.