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Feeling Guilty of Being more fortunate than some others?

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #205749

    Jade
    Participant

    Hello! I live an average life and am average in every way. But I am so blessed and grateful to live an average life where I have family, friends, my health and life, shelter, clothing, food, love, education etc on an average lifestyle. However, sometimes I feel I don’t deserve it when so many other people in the world (as strangers) or even some friends (people I know well or even mildly associate with) are less fortunate. And comparing me to them… there is no connection/comparision. Was I just lucky and they weren’t? Why is it that I have shelter,food,health,family and love when others have so little or none at all? Or is this feeling of guilt tied back to my sense of inferiority complex?

    Example 1 of smaller thing: I have shelter/roof over my head. I would go out to meals with friends or family usually once a week. Or if I am craving something, I would go out to buy it. Each time dining out would be around $10 or so. I didn’t really thought about what I spend on dining out and I become picky over food at times. And of course, these events add up financially. Then I would be reminded that there are so many people in the world who would go hungry for days or even people I personally know who struggle with lack of food or struggle with paying the rent as well. I have never been homeless or be cold/hungry on the streets so I feel so guilty that I have become picky/forget to feel grateful at times when so many other people in the world suffer. This is a small example of me feeling guilty over being more fortunate.

     

    Example 2 of a bigger thing: I have a lot of teeth problems (many fillings, root canal, and two crowns to say the least). Insurance doesn’t cover everything so my out of pocket was quoted for thousands of dollars. I did some procedures and already paid about $2000 total so far. Yes I saved up my money for my dental health all this time for the last 2 years by working overtime. But then an distant aunt was in terribly need of a root canal and she didn’t want to spend the $500 for the procedure that would stop her months of pain and crying from the pain, months of being unable to chew, feel happy, etc etc. because $500 was a huge amount that would be going to rent, food, her kids etc versus one little tooth. In the end, she decided to just pull out the tooth for a fraction of the price to relieve the pain. I felt very guilty because I spent thousands on my teeth (before it started hurting me) in order to save my teeth when others I know would rather be in dental pain for months and be miserable than spend a fraction of what I spend for my own teeth. I have gone for second and third opinions so I know I need this dental work to save my teeth. But this makes me feel very guilty and I regret that I was stupid/crazy to spend such a huge amount of money thousands on just a few teeth. So basically… I spend that crazy amount of money b/c I was scared of losing my teeth so early in my 30s and having an ugly smile = I was more worried about cosmetics more than ability to chew. This shows me how shameful my reasons were in this example.

    The two examples above are only two examples out of so many I could think up at the moment. I volunteer and find ways to help others as best as I can. But feelings of guilt surfaces more so than not. What can I do to relieve it? Any similar experiences or suggestions/advice?

     

    Again, as always, thank you so much for taking the time to read!

    #205757

    Mark
    Participant

    Jade,

    Good for you for having such an awareness.  Logically you know that feeling guilty will do those less fortunate any good or helps you in any way.

    You say you already volunteer and find ways to help others which is great.

    My only suggestions are:

    1. Write down how you are helping others with your volunteer work and other activities (e.g. number of hours volunteered, number of people you have helped, etc.).   This way you can see quantitatively on what you are doing to help.

    1a. Try out other activities that directly help others in a substantive way, e.g. do things that you need to interact with the person(s) you are helping.

    2. You say you feel guilty about your aunt.  How about sending her some money (with a note of course)?

    3. You may want to examine what underlies this sense of guilt, this “not deserving” feeling.  What about your upbringing instilled that in you?

    4. And lastly, this may sound harsh, just suck it up.  Continue to work on helping others in various ways and acknowledge that you will have your guilt.

    Mark

    #205769

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jade:

    Your thread is about you “Feeling Guilty…”. You asked: “is this feeling of guilt tied back to my sense of inferiority complex?”-

    for me to attempt to answer this question, will you elaborate on your inferiority complex: what is it, how did it come about, when and how does it manifest itself in your life?

    anita

    #207521

    Jade
    Participant

    Dear Mark,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to share your own wisdom for me. I will definitely begin to take into consideration of your suggestions!

    #207525

    Jade
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and reply. I feel I have had an inferiority complex for a while. For example, I would achieve something very well but would do average/not good the next time. So therefore, it has to be luck that I was able to achieve success the first time. Or I get a job that was hard to get (like too many candidates for one job application), I was just merely very lucky to get it (not because of my skills, interaction, interview, etc). Or if my parents/family able to provide food/shelter/clothing for me during childhood (versus some other children who are unable to have the same things/opportunities), I was just lucky to have such family. If I am able to spend so much money on dental/medical health, I was just lucky I was able to work overtime/extra shifts to save up enough money to do so (and I was just fortunate that I didn’t have any other expenses for family so that I can just focus on my own dental/medical expenses).

    Basically,  I attribute a lot of success to luck/things outside my control that I am fortunate enough to lead a normal, average life. So I fear that if I didn’t have the family that provided for me so much or the luck that I was able to graduate school/get a job, able to pay for living expenses (i.e. car, rent, dining out) etc etc, I would be unable to live this same fortunate life if it was “just me in the beginning.” Like do I even have the qualifications and skills and am I good enough to be deserving of everything I currently have? Why are so many others have so many misfortunes when I am able to live a average life? Am I good enough/deserving enough? What did I do to deserve it?

     

    Thank you very much for reading!

    #207709

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jade:

    You are welcome.

    You wrote: “if my parents/family able to provide food/shelter/clothing for me during childhood.., I was just lucky to have such family”.

    Did your parents communicate to you somehow that you didn’t deserve the food, shelter and clothing that they provided you with?

    Did they tell you that you are fortunate for having those things, that other children are not that fortunate, that they were not that fortunate in their own childhood?

    anita

    #211253

    Aliyah
    Participant

    Hi Jade,

    Reading through your post…it almost could have been written by me. I actually just joined this site so I could respond to your post, which I found through Googling “feeling guilty about less fortunate people”. So you’re definately not alone.

    I have this feeling about a number of things in my life. I have a (possibly below) average job, but I am constantly reflecting on the fact that so many others in the world sleep hungry at night, including children. I’m finding my way spiritually lately, and it’s helped process this a bit. Though I still get pangs of guilt frequently. If something isn’t going great in my life and I feel sorry for myself…I end up telling myself off for feeling this way, because at least I have a warm bed, a roof over my head and food to eat.

     

    If you want to talk….let me know.

     

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