Welcome to The Guiltless Life :).
My name is Anna, I’ m 26, and I started the Guiltless Life in 2011 as a continuation of my blogs Guiltless & Glamorous and Guiltless & Gourmet, to provide a one-stop lifestyle blog for those looking to live a little more consciously but at the same time, without that wasted emotion that drags too many of us down in life: guilt.
You can find out more about me on the About page, but basically I have been a vegetarian for four years now and also make an effort to live more consciously in other ways. I am not vegan and I don’t have a completely 100% animal-free lifestyle but I do my very best and I feel that that is all we can ask of each other. Although I have great admiration for people like Alicia Silverstone (vegan and creator of The Kind Life), who seem to be able to flawlessly navigate the world of eco-friendliness and raw, macro, vegan diets, I can only try to do my very best each day and that is what I want to encourage all of us to do through this blog.
Perhaps you are a meat eater or perhaps you’ve been vegan for many years. Maybe you hate the idea of fur but can’t help but be tempted by those leather boots. Everyone has what I call “boundaries”, the point to which they are willing to go to support their morals and the point at which they don’t want to sacrifice anymore. Wherever your boundaries are that’s great. The important thing is: don’t feel guilty.
Don’t feel guilty when you eat four squares of chocolate instead of just the one you meant to have.
Don’t feel guilty when you miss that exercise class for the second day running because you “were just too tired”.
Don’t feel guilty when you splurge $300 on a pair of beautiful shoes for yourself yet you don’t buy organic produce because you’re trying to save money.
Now, I’m not saying continue to do all of these things :). All I am saying is, feeling guilty about them is not only unnecessary stress to add to your life but it is just going to keep that cycle going. If you feel guilty and beat yourself up about the chocolate, you’ll probably just turn to it the next day and start medicating yourself with it. Despite what we would think – that making ourselves feel guilty about something means we feel remorseful enough to stop that action, that rarely happens. It’s psychology.
What can we do? Acknowledge, give ourselves the ‘treat’ of another day off exercise, another square of chocolate, and then pick ourselves right back up the next day and continue trying to live up to the moral code we have set for ourselves. If we set an impossible goal (“I want to be the perfect environmentally-friendly citizen; I will recycle everything, never take a plastic bag from the supermarket aisle, never own anything leather or suede…”) for ourselves then we are setting ourselves up to ‘fail’. And failing is just disheartening. The best thing is to decide on a moral code, the way you want to live – does that include recycling? Eating a meat-free diet or perhaps just less meat? Being more discerning in our purchases and entertaining the fact that a vegan ‘leather’ bag may be just as functional and attractive as a regular one?
Once you’ve answered these questions and set your moral code, just try to live up to it as best you can. But if now and again you defy one of those morals, let yourself, and just move on. There’s a part of our Anglican church service every week where, without fail, we admit to sinning:
“[W]e confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent…”
This is said every week without fail, regardless of whether you ‘think’ you have been very well-behaved that week and haven’t sinned at all. I remember the first time I attended service and saw that everyone was expected to recite that – not just those who believed they had erred – and I was a bit offended. He is just assuming we’ve done wrong, I thought. Then I realized that of course, of course we have because as humans we are sinning beings.
This isn’t just religious in context; I just wanted to provide you with an example. The point is no one is perfect, no one manages to go a whole week without sinning, no one manages to live up to the morals they profess and live by 100% of the time. But we will all be much better people for trying. In my mind, to live guiltlessly is to live peacefully, and that is why I have peppered this post with some photos I’ve taken in the past few years that say “peace” to me.
So let’s do our best but not beat ourselves up in the process. This blog is hopefully going to be equal parts fun, pretty, a bit of light relief, informative and welcoming (I really hope!) but it will be 100% guilt-free (except for that small percent where I’ll fail at that … :)).