Unlearning in Order to Learn: Resting Guilt Free

For as long as I can remember, I have been unable to rest. Those sunny days on the beach, laying in the sun? The cocktails, beach bodies and ocean breeze? Torture for me. It is unproductive. A waste of time.

“Netflix and Chill” – No actually, Netflix, chill, chat, research, browse, work, think and much more all in one. Need to maximise that chilling time.

I cannot rest. I cannot chill. I feel guilty. Not just a little but, I become consumed by the mere fact that what I am doing right now in that moment is a waste of time, space and resources. Yes, it is that bad.

I am a people pleaser, battle to set those boundaries. Worst of it is that i do not know how to please myself and create any kind of ‘me’ space anymore. Today has been the second day of my leave. I have not had a holiday, an actual holiday in years. Did i plan anything exciting? Nope, I have house work to do. I have chores. I have ‘resting’ scheduled, sort of, but after two days… I have come to a realisation. I have systemic guilt built into my soul, from my childhood. Due to this, I honestly do not know if I would ever be able to ‘rest’ like the other humans do. Those who listen to music, living in the moment. Painting and having fun.

Me? Well I re-organised and arranged my entire flat. The lounge and the bedroom. Then, i did it again. Guess what, I did it a third time. All in one go. I was unhappy each time. When i was finally done, I became frustrated that the day is almost gone and I felt it was a waste of time.

a Typical person would then actually rest right? Not me, I then did it all again and put everything back in its original place. So not only did I feel guilty because I saw my time as being wasted, I then actually wasted my time to undo everything and now I feel guilty even more.

Gosh, help. Tapping out now.

Sitting here, huffing and puffin’ – tired, frustrated, annoyed, hurt my back, hurt my wrist, a few scratches. Achieved Zero. Except the above of course.

Why? Well, I’ve been pondering this for a few years, today I realised, my childhood has a lot to do with this very frustrating behaviour of mine.

For as long as I can remember, my late father refused to give me a moment to keep to myself and do my own thing growing up. He was a firm believer in ‘working hard’ like he did. You go to school, you come back, you need to chop wood, clean the coal stove that we had, wash the floors, work in the garden and the list goes on. Sure, it teaches responsibility right?

Over weekends, why are you sleeping in? Not in this house.

Mow the lawn. Dig a hole. Wrong, fill it up and dig it again two steps to the left.

I cannot remember ever ‘resting’ – it was always a case of, at any given moment I could be given a task to do, or reprimanded because of a task not being done. The anxiety of the guilt. The systemic guilt. So many years later, it still haunts me. Sitting still means you are doing something wrong in my head. Sitting still means failure. Sitting still means you are messing up and you need to be punished.

Today, I am choosing to unlearn, in order to learn. No dad, you were wrong. In so many ways. You were wrong. The hold that parents can have on you as an adult is simply fucking ridiculous sometimes. We have habits and behaviours they instilled in us, sometimes through manipulation, sometimes just purely because they didn’t know better. These habits and behaviours we need to acknowledge, and work on it.

I don’t know how to start doing this to be honest, but I am here, typing this out to myself.
Perhaps in a year or two, I would be reminded of this being a starting point or it could serve as a potential reminder, that it is okay to fail, but it is also okay to try again.

Self injury comes in many forms, we need to learn to be kind to ourselves because many times, we were never taught how to do this. So be kind to yourself.

It is okay to rest, to take a day off. It is okay to say no. It is okay. It really is okay, and this is a starting point.

Thank you for reading… #TheSomethingGuy #SouthAfrica #Blog


  1. I am so happy I found your blog . My cousin actaully posted your article about LGBTQIA+ on his status and I decided to read more your articles and I am impressed and interested.As an ex blogger myself I have been looking for a blog that touches on such topics.

    This particular article speaks to me because I have the same problem as you . I have a lot of guilt from my childhood traumas and expiriences that they affect my me time . I can’t relax lol I tried ! I even plan for it but I end finding something to do and then get upset that I didn’t rest ! Only last week I was on leave and I managed to do chores and only after that did I spend the remainder of the days relaxing or trying .

    I ma happy to see that I am not alone. I too have no solution but I am pushing to find out. All the best to you and thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. Makes me happy to hear when people find my little blog and enjoy it 👋🏻 appreciate it. Also thanks for sharing and remember to relax guilt free haha.


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