Saturday, 28 April 2012

Guilt - A Curse.

If you want to have a happy life it is vital to steer clear of having to carry the burden of guilt. Sure, we all have problems in our life history that we feel uncomfortable about. But there is a huge difference between the ordinary "I wish I hadn't done that" feelings and REAL guilt. Real guilt is something that is a constant companion, and is very hard to shrug off. It never goes away, and life is hard when it is present.

I know a priest who told me this story. It happened about 20 years ago. He was new in the parish and was visiting one old lady, aged about 80,  for the first time. As they talked, he felt that she was holding something back, and he asked if this was so. This is what poured out of her:

She had become pregnant when she was 19, which would be round about 1930. She felt shame about being pregnant at all, was desperate and had an abortion. This made her feel worse. So now she felt a double dose of shame, but could not tell a living soul about either the pregnancy or the abortion.

From then, each time she saw a small baby, or a pregnant woman, or even a pram, she experienced almost a physical self-loathing. Even later, when you might expect the memory to fade, she would be reminded of her lost baby around the date that it would have been born, and on it's birthdays, and when it might have started school, and so on.

The lady had married and had other children, but never told her husband. The guilt was too much. It would recur twenty years or so later when she grieved for the grand-children that she might have had (even though she had others!).

She had now been a widow for some years, and the priest was the first person that she had ever told. And why? She told him that as she got older and nearer to her own death she began to get scared. She was frightened of dying and meeting God.

Now it does not matter what you think of abortion or whether you believe in God. What does matter here is that she had led a life that was handicapped. Not by physical incapacity, but by the incapacity of guilt, which had wrecked her life for about 60 years. And that is "wrecked" with a capital WR.

For the priest, he told me that it took a long while and many conversations before she could accept that her God was merciful, was ready to forgive her. Only then did her personal Hell recede, though probably only to the back of her mind.

Hopefully, the remaining years of her life were more peaceful for her.

That is a bad case of guilt, but I am sure that there are very many people who suffer like that lady. They will have many different reasons for feeling guilty, but if they cannot dismiss the feeling from their mind then they are stuck with it. And that is a real problem for them.

So, what to do if you are cursed by guilt?

1. Whatever it takes, keep guilt out of your life.

2. If you do feel guilt about something, do all that you can to get rid of it. Fast!

Then, you will be happier, fulfilled, and regret-free.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Carole Ann Rice- Daily Express Coloumnist.

Carole Ann Rice has a Monday column in the Daily Express. I cannot retweet it as it has not appeared on the newspaper's website, but the gist of it is this.  NO REGRETS!
She reckons that Edif Piaf (you know, of "Je ne regrette rien" fame, unless you are too young. It was a song.) had it right. There has been a study by Science Express, which says that when we are young it is easier to learn from regret, but as we age second chances become fewer, regret is more important to us and harder to overcome.
The study also says that the key to ageing happily is to let go of disappointment, and cut out seeing our problems in life with a sense of self-loathing.
As Carole writes, the here and now is a gift to us and that is why it is called the present.
So, if you are still younger than older you know what to do with painful memories. Get rid of them!
I'm not sure what age has got to do with it. Letting go of pain is a great idea whatever age one might be. You may stick with the past or look to the future. If you are 80 you may have less future than most, but what you do with that future is completely up to you. What do you want, peace or resentment?

Carole Ann Rice has a website at and she is a life and happiness coach.

How you might eliminate regret may be found by reading my e-book "How to Live and Die Without Regrets". It is now available on Kindle, and will soon be on other ebook reader applications.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Gail Devers: Great Olympian, but You Could be Her Equal!

Gail Devers

Gail Devers is well known as a three-time Olympic Gold Medal winner. She triumphed in the 100m at the 1992 Barcelona games and again in Atlanta four years later, together with a win in the 4 x 400m relay. Gail was also a World Champion in the 100m Hurdles.

However, her story is not a straightforward one of glittering success on the track. In 1988 she had made the US Olympic team, but during training that year became prone to pulled muscles and tired legs. She had a bad Olympics with her slowest time since college and did not make the finals.

Gail’s condition did not improve. She began to suffer from migraines, hearing problems, convulsions, hair loss, fatigue, and weight loss. A number of doctors could not find the source of her problems. In 1990 her performances were again poor, but a team physician noticed that Gail had a goiter on her throat. Tests showed that she was suffering from Graves’ Disease, which is an immune disorder because of an overactive thyroid gland.

Gail had radiation treatment to destroy the growth. With most of her other symptoms relieved she resumed running. Then a year later complications set in. The thyroid problem had affected her blood supply. She now had blood blisters on her feet. Walking became so painful that Gail required help, sometimes even needing to be carried. Athletics for her appeared to be all over. There was also a possibility that her feet might have to be amputated.

Although scared that her athletic career was over, she wasn’t going to give up. The word ‘quit’ had never been part of her vocabulary. She even refused drugs for fear of being randomly tested. Fortunately, it was found that the blisters were a side effect of her radiation. From the time that the radiation was stopped Gail began to recover. She started training again, at first using an exercise bike. From that time, and this was now barely twelve months from the 1992 Olympic Games, Gail began to emerge from the darkness of the previous three years. She became a stronger athlete. She qualified for Barcelona, and when she won the sprint title it was in a personal best time.

At the press conference after that victory, Gail said that sheer determination that was the key to her success. Sure, she needed to have world-class athleticism, but that was only the start. "Use me as an example", she told the media. "I am here today because of the drive within me. I was going to let nothing get in the way of my ambition of an Olympic medal".

At the heart of the achievements of Gail Devers is her mind. Through the most debilitating illness, indeed almost a collection of illnesses, she will have endured many days of pain. There must have been times when she worried about more than the loss of merely her career in athletics. Yet, the intense drive that governs everything that she does was never diminished.

What success is to Gail is simple. It means that you have to give your all. That is it, in a nutshell. And this is what we may learn from her. We do not need to be triple Olympic Champions in order to be successful. All we have to do is our best, every time. Life really is that simple; because if you do your best every time, then in your own field, you are the equal of an Olympic Champion.