Blogger: Deborah Levine-Powell, “Soulful Wonder Chef”

During this time of the year, many people are looking forward to the changes they’re making.  Since my blog falls in the first week of the New Year, I decided to share one of my resolutions for the New Year.

I’m not big on making resolutions because I don’t think there is a set time to make changes or grow.


Let’s look at the definition of guilt.

GUILT /ɡilt/

  1. To make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.

“Celeste had been guilted into going by her parents”

  1. A cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that they have compromised their own standards of conduct or have violated a universal moral standard and bear significant responsibility for that violation.

The lost art of how to say no, without feeling guilty, has been written about so many times. My new year’s resolution is to say NO to the things I am not passionate about.

I am guilty of saying yes to so many things at the expense of myself. I love to help others, volunteer, be class Mom, a PTA member, Girl Scout leader, etc…It’s truly an exhaustive list. During this last year, I’ve been dealing with a lot of my own health issues.

I had to learn how to start saying NO. For some reason it produces a lot of feelings of guilt for me. I had to really take a step back, and ask myself why I would feel bad about saying No, in order to be able to take care of myself.

By nature, I’m a people pleaser and a caretaker.  I am always the one to fix things and make them better.  I always want to make sure everyone gets along and everyone is happy. As women, I think it is our natural instinct.


I started to feel resentment towards others, for the things I agreed to do. I hated that feeling. When someone would ask me to do yet another thing, I felt overwhelmed. It is a running joke that every call me “Wonder Woman”; if you know me she is my all-time favorite character (she is even tattooed on my back). The truth of the matter is, that even Wonder Woman needs to rest.


I had to take a real look at why I was upset with the person or the situation, and figure out why I was feeling that way.

I began to feel as if I had no control over what was going on, and I did not have time to do the things that had the most meaning to me.

It was internal guilt and my perception of what others may think if I could not help them. I don’t think it was an outside influence that was essentially making me feel this way.

I have talked throughout my blogs this year about taking care of ourselves, but oddly I am guilty of doing the opposite and putting others before my own needs.

I had to admit, I was my own worst enemy. Let me tell you, it is not an easy task to take the blame, especially when you have to do some serious soul-searching.

I used to worry what someone would think if I said no, and then I realized (not to be obnoxious), it didn’t matter what they thought. If I didn’t feel it in my heart that it is something I really want to do; I started to say no.  I worried they would be angry, and not ask me to do certain things.  I had an overall concern of how they would react.

You know what happened? NOTHING!

I was honest with anyone who asked a favor of me or to volunteer or take part in an event. I told them I only have so much of myself to give, and my family and my wants and needs had to come first. I was not so blunt with them. But, I let them know up front.

There were a few times I genuinely felt bad, and almost caved in after saying no. I took the time to honestly explain that I had to say no for my own sanity.  I gave alternatives for something they can do, or maybe someone else suited for the task.

As a psychotherapist, I help others set boundaries for themselves. I began to follow my own advice. I still struggle with this and have to remember in order to take care of myself, I have to show others I am important too.  I have to make a conscious choice daily to prioritize and set internal and external boundaries.

I encourage everyone to take a minute to think about the things, and people you commit to throughout the year, and make sure that you are taking care of yourself in that process.

I leave you with two parting gifts:

One of my guilt-free “Wonder-Chef” recipes (see below) and a Book Suggestion:

Guilt-free Chicken Egg Rolls 



1 package of egg roll wrappers
1 pound of ground chicken
1 bunch of scallions
2 minced garlic cloves
1 small onion chopped
1 small bag of coleslaw mix
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Hot mustard
chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Warm two tablespoons of sesame oil in a frying pan
2. Add the onions, garlic  and ground chicken
3. Cook through, and add coleslaw mix and scallions until it starts to wilt
4. Add salt and pepper, chili flakes, soy sauce and hot mustard to taste
5. Set Aside to cool

6. Take out the egg roll wrappers and place on a cutting board

7. Get a small bowl of water

8. Begin to fold the egg rolls – take two tablespoons of filling and place it in the center of a wrapper – make one fold up and then fold the two sides in and roll, put a drip
Of water on the corner to seal it.

9. Make an Egg wash with one egg and some water

10. Brush all sides of the egg rolls and bake for 20 min at  350 degrees


BOOK: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson



Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking.  She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager.  When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.


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