Have you ever thought about the purpose of your brain?
Your brain has evolved to keep you alive; to help you survive.
It was not designed to help you be happy. This means that when you start to try to do something new and creative, your brain interprets this as a threat to stability and safety, and tries to stop you.
As Mel Robbins explains:
“The fact about human beings is that we are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult.
Our brains are designed to protect us from those things, because our brains are trying to keep us alive. Your brain is wired to stop you at all cost from doing anything that might hurt you.
In order to change, in order to build a business, in order to be the best parent, in order to be the best spouse–to do all those things that you know you want to do with your life–you are going to have to do things that are difficult, uncertain, or scary.”
Mommy guilt and shame is the result of your brain and it’s purpose – to keep you and your offspring alive, not happy. Anything you try to do that is new, different, interesting or courageous will result in fear, and for many moms, mommy guilt.
Fear, self-doubt and mommy guilt is just your ancient brain trying to stop you from doing things that are important for living your creative life.
I like the way that Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about dealing with her fear.
“That’s why if you try to sit down and write a poem, it literally feels like you’re going to die,” Gilbert said. “Your fear only has one job and that is: No, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, death, murder, mayhem, back it up, shut down, stay on the couch, be safe, don’t die. And so the relationship that I’ve established over the years is just a very loving conversation with that—a very maternal way that I speak to that, because I know that it’s just not that smart. I just talk to it like it’s my dumb cousin who played hockey and just isn’t that bright, and I’m like, ‘I know. I know it’s scary, but you know what? Mommy’s got this.’
“As soon as I say, ‘It’s okay for you to be here, and you can stay with me and we’re going to do this together,’ it just relaxes and it goes to sleep like a toddler in a car-seat,” she said.
In the same way that many people have learned to deal with fear and self-doubt by accepting that they never truly disappear, it’s helpful to understand that mommy guilt may never go away entirely either. We can accept that mommy guilt may reappear when our brain is trying to stop us from doing things that are creative and new, and that’s ok. Just keep pursuing your creative calling anyways!