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Podcast Episode 73: 4 Ways to Tackle an Upper Limit Problem You Probably Didn’t Know You Had

How often do you feel guilty about taking care of yourself? 

Self-care guilt shows up in various ways. . .

by apologizing for taking time for yourself,

feeling like you’re being selfish, or

pushing it off because you have more productive things to do.

Have you ever experienced this…

It’s some random point in your day at home and you are relaxing reading that book you’ve been dying to get to, or secretly watching the non-kid themed show on Netflix that all your friends have been raving about. 

When you notice out of the corner of your eye that your son is in the kitchen making himself some lunch. Suddenly you feel this overwhelming urge to get up and go help with lunch. 

Or your partner is quietly picking up in another room, and when you realize it, you feel like you need to stop what you are doing and go in to help.

Whatever the reason, there’s this nagging voice in the back of your mind that makes you feel guilty about taking care of yourself (even selfish).

Why is that?

Why do we have this overwhelming GUILT when we are taking time for ourselves? 

Seriously, why is that??? 

Well, it’s our Upper Limit Problem. Gay Hendricks discusses it in his book The Big Leap.

You have probably heard us talk about it recently in our podcast episode with Denise Duffield-Thomas (Podcast #66: How Your Money Blocks Are Holding You Back)

In his book, Gay talks about upper limit problems – or how we sabotage ourselves when we’ve reached success. Or in this example how we let guilt take over and ruin the time we try to take for self-care and rest so often.

We all have an internal thermometer for how much happiness, love, success and so on we’ll let ourselves experience. That’s our upper limit setting.  Think of it like our success “comfort zone”.

When we exceed our “comfort zone” and something really good is happening – we tend to sabotage ourselves, so we can drop back to the old, familiar place where we feel in control. Like that pesky feeling of GUILT!

It’s uncomfortable sitting outside of our comfort zone. We start to think about all those “what ifs”, which often makes us move back into that old familiar area where we feel comfortable and aren’t overstepping that success “comfort zone”. 

How do we break through that “comfort zone” and tackle that Upper Limit Problem you didn’t even know you had?

1. Recognize it’s there

Just becoming conscious of this upper limit problem thought process is a HUGE step to conquering that self-care guilt.

Sit in that uncomfortable feeling for a moment while you acknowledge that no one else can make you feel guilty but you and that chances are no one is expecting you to stop doing what you are currently doing right now- except you.

2. Take baby steps

Taking small steps to make changes towards happiness can have HUGE payoffs! Denise Duffield Thomas talks about this in podcast episode 66. She gives us a great example through shopping. 

Allow yourself to do little things for yourself without feeling guilt. In my case, it was as simple as starting to order my daughter her own strawberry lemonade. She would always ask for part of my favorite fast-food-treat, and I’d feel guilty for enjoying it all to myself and not sharing. Eventually I realized that I could just get her one of her own and that would allow me to still enjoy my own thing without the guilt. Granted, this is a very small baby step, but what it resulted in was me starting to set more boundaries with my kids to protect my self-care time!

3. Stop the negative self-talk

Try treating yourself like you’d treat a small child, with patience, kindness and gentleness. 

You wouldn’t trash talk that child if he/she made a mistake. You wouldn’t say things like, “You idiot, look what you’re doing!” or “You’ve gone and screwed this up again!” 

But we tend to say these things to ourselves. We self-sabatoge ourselves with that negative self-talk.

Self-compassion along with awareness will get you breaking past that upper limit problem in no time.

4. Be Open to Receiving

Women are traditionally givers. In order to achieve a high level of success at anything, you need to be open to receiving

Sometimes that may involve asking for help. Other times it may mean taking time for yourself to develop a skill, so you have the confidence to pursue your goals. 

So tell us… do you have an “Upper Limit Problem”?

When do you feel it bubbling up?

How are you going to fight it?

Email us at [email protected] or comment on our Facebook page

Resources We Shared:

Eat At Home  Discount Code NOGUILTMOM for 25% off!

The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

Podcast #66: How Your Money Blocks Are Holding You Back with Denise Duffield-Thomas

Simply Piano (Simply Guitar is there as well)

The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

No Guilt Mom Facebook Page

Download the Transcripts HERE

The best mom is a happy mom. To better take care of you, download our No Guilt Mom mindset here .  These reminders will help you second guess less, and feel more confidence every day in your parenting.

Brie Tucker

COO/ Podcast Producer at No Guilt Mom
Brie Tucker has over 20 years of experience coaching parents with a background in early childhood and special needs. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and is certified in Positive Discipline as well as a Happiest Baby Educator.

She’s a divorced mom to two teenagers.

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