I recently experienced this in my own life, but I didn't recognize the feeling until my guy called me out on it.
You see, an opportunity presented itself for me to travel to Hawaii (one of my most favorite places!). I was excited. The fact that I was in a position (financially and personally) to take it was amazing! I've worked for years to have this freedom and flexibility.
But when I told a few friends about the trip, the response was, "weren't you just in Bali?" and "I just saw you were in Detroit." As if those trips were enough for the year and I needed to wait a more acceptable time (whatever that is) to travel again.
Now I understand that most people can only afford to take one big trip per year. They save and plan and live for that time off.
I love to travel. I have dreamed of traveling often my entire life and made choices to support that lifestyle, but I started feeling bad about my ability to follow my dreams.
My guy, ever supportive of all me, is such a blessing. When I told him about the trip (he was actually out of town with limited service, so I had told my friends first), he was excited for me.
Until he noticed my expression. My worry. My guilt. My shame.
He put his arms around me and reminded me to never feel bad for doing things I enjoy. And he reminded me of one of my most important motto's: "No one is ever going to love you more than the way you love you.'
It was exactly what I needed to hear because this is my life. Not my friends. Not my family.
They may share it with me, but they aren't living for me.
If I choose not to go to Hawaii because of guilt, shame, worry about what they thought, the only thing I would be doing is depriving myself of my dream and my happiness.
They may be happy that I didn't go, but it would be fleeting. And the time I would have spent away would likely not be spent with them. There would have been no advantage to my saying no to this trip, other than to seek their verbal approval of how to live my life.
It's also impossible to make others happy, the really fulfilling, deep happiness that does exist when we honor ourselves and love ourselves enough to pursue our dreams.
We should not feel guilty or ashamed for our choices because they aren't what someone else can choose. That's like choosing not to eat because there are people starving across the world. Our decision not to eat is only going to bring starvation and illness upon ourselves; it won't actually do anything for all those who are starving across the world.
Not choosing for ourselves is not going to change anything in someone else's reality either. Whatever choices they made, they will still have to live with.
Misery loves company, so it's easier to keep people down to a level that doesn't make them feel bad about themselves for not doing better. Because if we succeed by following our dreams, it throws in a question that they could have the same if they had the courage to pursue it.
It's way easier to give in to fear and live with in our (un)comfort zone, than it is to be courageous and step into the unknown. It's easier to allow guilt, shame and worry to dictate our actions because we want to fit in and are afraid to stand out. If we stand out, we might lose people in our lives.
But those who really love us will always support us and want the best for us, even if they can't have it for themselves.
I tried to fit in to this reality; I did everything I was 'supposed' to do: went to college, got a job, bought a house. And I was absolutely miserable. It was went I lost everything that I found the greatest gift. I found myself. I went back to my roots and explored all things 'hooey,' weird, and 'out there.' I embraced my psychic gifts and started using my intuition again, which allowed me to re-discover the magic and mystery that does exist in this life (when we are brave enough to embrace it).