THERE’S SOMETHING INSIDE ME . . . WHERE CAN I RUN?

There’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

I went lone for a long ride under the dark sky,

Yet, there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

I dined out with friends at the five stars,

Yet, after leaving friends… there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

I took ten shots of Absinthe Hapsburg over loud music at the back,

Yet, as the hangover weakened… there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

To divert the mind and feel refresh, I paid her for that night,

Yet, at the day dawn… there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

The 10000-word speech of my friend sounded good,

Yet, after an hour… there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

There’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?

There’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?  

Navigating through such stories, it wouldn’t be wrong to quote finding medicines to aid the physical pain is easier whereas aiding the inner wounds are too difficult and impossible at times. Mostly, inner wounds are caused when we breach the ethical and moral boundaries of our life. Revaluating the intensity and the intention of a mistake happens later but initially, its repercussion dispenses a lot of pain to the perpetrator and the pain is felt more grievously when the soul is intended to live a good moral life.

I remember, once my friend used her friend’s debit card on her online shopping ID for her friend (the owner of the debit card) and unknowingly the card got auto-saved in the same ID. The next day, when my friend shopped for herself the money got debited from her friend’s debit card. Since for both of their debit cards, the last 3 numbers were the same and for easy memory, they both were using the same debit pin, the real debit card use went unnoticed. Alongside since she (the debit card owner) was a student so the phone number registered with the debit card belonged to her parents. This again created confusion of multiple unnecessary shopping between my friend’s friend and her parents and as she (debit card owner) reported my friend to check the shopping transaction, the matter intensified to mistrusting each other. After a thorough investigation, the real issue was unfolded. But by the time the misunderstandings and doubts had already wounded both of their hearts. Further, the incident of earlier blame game started convicting both the tender hearts for the punitive behavior shown to each other. Years of friendship and love were about to be pulled down because of some silly mistakes and the blames of their own heart was not letting them face each other. My friend’s heart was crying out – there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run? I know, it’s the GUILT of my heart! But how can I get heal of it?         

The 20th century famous American Writer Mark Twain said,

WE ARE ALIKE, ON THE INSIDE!

True indeed, long back when I was entangled with the repercussions of my mistake, it was the same cry – “There’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?”. As a matter of fact, the wound got so grievous that, on 13th March 2011, I attempt to draw the last line of my life seeking relief from “there’s something inside me… eating me. Where can I run?”

The second question of my friend puts it rightly, “it’s the GUILT of my heart! Which needs HEALING.”

Guilt is the repercussion of our mistakes where we are caught-hold by our wrong deeds. In the modern days’ excusable language, we consider it on the lighter notes – “mistakes/errors/wrong deeds/weakness/so-on-so-forth” but in its original application, it’s the “SIN OF HUMAN HEART”. Initially, knowingly/unknowingly the ‘SINS OF OUR HEART’ entices us to breach the ethical and moral boundaries of our life and later its repercussion starts blaming us and haunts us, which can be rightly termed as “GUILT”. At the point of guilt-feeling, our sins are known to us but our sinful acts need to be confessed, then only we can embrace the healing touch of living a guilt-free life.

God in the Bible has expressed before us His promise,

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Freedom from guilt is available in the confession of sins before God and the human against whom we have committed. It needs our belief in the promises of availing forgiveness and our courageous attempt for confession. “God has promised to forgive our sins and make us guilt-free and make it more evident to us for our trust upon Him. He (God) became man in the person Jesus – lived among us – took the wages of our sins and died on the Cross– availed us forgiveness through His (Jesus) resurrection from death as God.”

 

A MOTHER’S GUILT

Guilt is the feeling that comes when you fail to meet your own expectations. Understand that the feeling is an unmet expectation of yourself and not of the world. As a mother, I have felt guilty a number of times for leaving my son back home while I go to work. It is very common for a young mother to be tempted to quit her job and be with her baby at all times. I too had that temptation a million times. Well, but as they say feeling guilty is part of being a mother. Which guilt do you wish to live with, is the question to be rightly answered.

I have seen women who have felt extremely guilty for leaving their newborns in day cares or with maids so that they could work without an interruption. I also know of a lot women who feel guilty of leaving their shining careers because kids needed the attention at that time. So, when I became a mother I knew it is not glorious to do either of things. I need to choose which guilt is less and I am ok to live with.

And I chose to live with the guilt of leaving my son at home and focusing on my work.
Summer vacations are coming up and that is always a tricky time because it is impossible to keep the kids engaged at all times. Since last year my in-laws take my son to their place and he lives with them for a month or so during summer vacations. I have such fond memories of my summer vacations which were always with my parents and I want the same for my child; so it is a difficult decision for me.

However, I know that I cannot be at home for a month or even work from home for that long – and with that thought I let him go. The thoughts like “I am a bad mother, I am a selfish mother, and he is going to miss me so much, how he will stay without me etc.” are  devilish thoughts that I deal with every day. But I must do what I must do. My son is quite happy with his grandparents and he likes to be with them. He misses me but not as much as I fear. But the feeling still kills me.

I am sure there are many such moms like me who are struggling. But remember it is the quality of time that matters not the quantity. Kids grow up as long as they have right people to take care of them. So as long as you trust your child’s caretaker – go ahead for your take on the world. And if you are the mother who feels guilty of letting your own career down for the sake of the kid – believe in your choice. You know the best for your child and you will provide the best for him/her.

Choose which guilty road you are willing to take because I have learnt that feeling guilty is part of being a woman. Mother’s guilt is only natural and is the consequence of wanting to be a good mother to your child.

 

MOTHERHOOD AND GUILT ARE INSEPARABLE

Being a mom, you are going to be bombarded with so much guilt for everything you do to everything you don’t do.

Nearly, 90% of moms feel guilty- And yes it is not a surprising element. Right from giving birth, breastfeeding, parenting, helicopter parenting and much more, you will stumble every now and then with guilt.

When pregnancy starts, it begins creeping into the thoughts.

“Oh, I didn’t have this, my child would have got better eyes, lips..etc”

“Oh, I should have lost enough weight,so that I would not have gained this much during pregnancy, now how I am gonna take care of myself and my kids . . .”

Blah… blah… blah…

A lot many thoughts keep conflicting the mind, rather than focussing on the real thing.

Again, after giving birth, most moms around 10 % or so, struggle with breastfeeding, some do not have enough supplement, that they have to start on formula milk, some do feed enough that the baby is growing fatter… and much more..

The list just prolongs from then, there is never an end to it.

Again the common guilt which is prevailing is when a mother is back to work. The guilt is much heavier than an atom bomb, it just breaks away the confidence and the mother’s dreams, that finally she gives up, the hopes and be a dedicated mom.

But again, it is not the end of the story – the guilt is inseparable.

When kids grow up, the mother again feels lonelier and again guilty of giving up her career, and then finally not able to give a kick start to it, because she keeps blaming herself for all the decisions she took in her life.

So what’s the story now?

Why do women, especially moms feel the guilt?

Is it because she doesn’t do her things well enough? Or,

Is it the society, who is grading the moms?

People tend to forget that moms are also humans, they also have their share of life. All they need is some time on their own, a job to make them independent to boost their self-confidence. And they just need slight support, not huge though.

So moms, just chill, if you are feeling guilty;

  • Firstly you do an excellent job, being a mom.
  • It is not easy just being mom, it takes up so much effort and you are the best at it.
  • Remember that your happy mind keeps everyone around you happy. So smile, take your own time and chill out.
  • Not breastfeeding is not the end of the world. Somethings are not in your hands. There are thousands of women who are not able to lactate, and it is not their fault.
  • Parenting is indeed a mess, you fall in uninvited, but yes, you might take your time to gather around and swim across to the shore.
  • Do not compare your parenting with others, you need not be guilty for your choices if you know you cannot control it.

Moreover, it is not in your hands that, the people around you are beguiled by the traditional patriarchal child-rearing setup, which is mostly triggered by maternal guilt rather than parental guilt.

Leave the idea of perfectionism, rather than focus on what is good for the child.

Just ignore your guilt and then focus on your child. Guilt gives you nothing, your child will give you the universe of happiness.

ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM “I AM SORRY” SYNDROME?

I invited a family to dinner at our place. The lady of the family brought home made cake for dessert.  But I forgot to serve the same and ended up serving a readymade sweet. And when they left I realised (actually was made to realise 😁) what a blunder I had committed. I should have served the cake too, its courtesy and etiquette. And then I was on my guilt trip. I texted her to seek forgiveness. Though she said she didn’t mind it at all, asked me to relax and chill, it’s been a long time now since we spoke to each other 😁 (she is busy with her examinations). What I did at the dinner was completely unintentional; being forgetful was my weakness rather than my mistake. But I pleaded.

And this isn’t the first time when I said ‘Sorry’ for something so trivial. I talk to my friends, relatives and out of no where after I finish my conversations I have a demon visiting me “Guilt” that makes me think, rethink – “did I utter something wrong to offend the person?”, “let’s say sorry before it’s too late” and I don’t relent from saying sorry. In fact I say ‘Sorry’ way too much.  I fear grudges and misunderstandings, hence I say sorry. So much so that I could possibly paint myself as nervous, weak or simply stupid.  If you have to choose a nickname for me “The Sorry Girl” would do just fine🤣🤣.

Too much of guilt or say “false” guilt for every non existing/ illogical/ trivial issue could be as dangerous as self medicating after surfing on Google for few apparent symptoms and assuming that you are suffering from a dreadful illness. Doctors are there for a reason, right? Don’t assume, for it could lead to side effects more effectively than yielding positive results. “Feeling Sorry” syndrome as I call it is something same as self medicating.  When you assume things and go on a guilt trip more often than not, you self deplete yourself. Extreme self consciousness so as to not to hurt anyone makes you go into a shell which equals to lower self esteem and confidence.  I have myself experienced the dilemma very often “shall I ask? Shall I say? Shall I tell?”.  Because I don’t want anyone to feel bad and me either as a consequence to my actions and words.  And this is where I hesitate to say NO (my false guilt of hurting someone being my constant companion).  But now I am slowly realising it isn’t worth it, at least not every situation requires irrelevant deep introspection that shows me as a insensitive human, oblivious to others feelings.

I am not against minding words and actions in advance for it reflects an educated mind. And to be conscious about how others may feel reflects your sensible side. But the question is how much is enough and what is unwanted.  Feelings like Regret, Guilt are as precious as Love and Care to be squandered away on unimportant things.  For instance: You got stuck in traffic irrespective of starting really early so you say sorry and move on. This is how it should be. But if you start analysing what the other person might think of you, how much business loss he might have incurred just because of your delay and start off meekly to please unnecessarily, this is something awkward and uncalled for. This hampers your personality, your image. And this is called false guilt. Your false guilt will let others take advantage of you, period.

Talk and move on! You feel you have done something wrong, talk about it to the concerned person, settle the matter there. Don’t let it linger on your mind for long. If the other person understands your explanation no worries. But if the other person is indifferent, it isn’t your fault, mind you. Remember you can’t please everyone. Then why burden your heart with “I don’t deserve them” tag. Why can’t it be the other way round?

Always remember:

  • Be cordial but not overtly submissive. There’s a huge difference.
  • Don’t nurse ego
  • Don’t be shy to say sorry when you feel you need to, you want to
  • Relationships are important but if you can’t value yourself relationships can’t be sane and equal.
  • Watch out words and actions before they are beyond your control.

ABSENCE OF GUILT IS DANGEROUS; ITS PRESENCE CALLS FOR REPENTANCE

Sensitivity about right and wrong is in-built in every human soul. Be it among the mortals residing in secluded tribal lands or those dwelling atop tall skyscrapers in modern cities, all are privy to moral laws etched in the human heart by the Creator.

When I heard the word ‘conscience’ for the first time in the Moral Science classes at primary school, the concept was a bit intriguing. With the cognitive functioning skills yet to attain the fullest extent of maturity, it took some grappling to get to the bottom of the big word with a difficult spelling (at that time 🙂 ). But, I vividly remember the examples cited by my teacher. To quote one of the examples, “If Mummy has asked you not to touch the sweets kept on the dining table and you quietly grab one and rush into another room when no one is watching, how do you feel? Do you feel your heart racing? Do you feel afraid that Mummy would either give you a piece of her mind or a spanking, when she finds out what you’ve done? If you feel such pricking within you, that is your conscience. Your conscience is pricking you because you are guilty! You have done something wrong.”

It was very easy to understand the concept with such examples. Thanks to such teachers who helped instill moral values in tender minds!

Conscience is installed by default programming within each of us by God, the Intelligent Programmer. It is further shaped and nurtured as we build on our relationship with Him. And, it dies off when the connecting wires are chipped off. I prefer calling it the ‘Guilt Indicator’. This indicator beeps within when there are certain erroneous acts of omission and commission by us. How we respond to these beeps shapes our character and personality.

There are two possible responses to the pricks of the conscience:

  1. To scan within
  2. To ignore

Scanning within

When scanning within to explore the probable genuineness of the Guilt Indicator, there can be two outcomes – one, a confirmation of the wrongdoing and a desire to admit, repent and make amends/ face the consequences or two, a confirmation of the wrongdoing followed by plans of covering up or burying the cause of the pricking. To give examples of the above two outcomes – A man murders his wife and responding to the nudges of his conscience, he realizes that he is guilty and so he goes to the Police Station and turns himself in ready to face the consequences. Another man also murders his wife, but schemes to hide the evidence so that he won’t be caught. Both scan within, both realize that they are guilty, but then, respond to their guilt in two entirely different ways.

Ignoring outrightly

There are many who give a cold shoulder to the beeps of the Guilt Indicator. They refuse to acknowledge the pricks within. Most of the anti-socials, psychopaths and sociopaths fall into this response category. They lack remorse or guilt for their actions. No wonder we amaze at certain people saying, ‘How on earth can someone be so barbaric!’ Statistics show that a majority of cold-blooded murders are committed under the influence of alcohol. Most confessions of serial killers reveal that they consume alcohol in excess quantities before executing the commissioned task and that they wouldn’t be able to kill while sober. Alcohol snubs their conscience! It numbs their guilt pangs temporarily.

I remember having presented a paper on an in depth study on Psychopathic Personality Disorder during my Post-Grad studies in which I had referred to the movie – ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and to the Noida serial murders at Nithari (it was a hot topic in India that time) as my case studies to make the audience have a clear understanding of the disorder. My point in mentioning this here is to draw home the point that ignoring one’s guilt pangs eventually brings out a cruel form of the self which was never meant to be so in the first place.

God has not embedded the conscience within us by accident. He knows that when His created human beings respond to this nudge from within, they would be sensitive to His voice and thus would refrain from deviating from His ordained path.

How many times a day do we lie in some way or the other? How many times a day we cheat in some form or the other? How many times a day do we allow our eyes to feast on illicit content? And, how many times do we hoodwink ourselves to justifying every such act of ours?

I look at the world today and see many events which were naturally meant to evoke guilt in people being justified, rationalized, in some cases even legalized and made into acceptable norms. No, these are not indicative of liberal post-modern mindsets. These are simply acts of rebuffing the divine design without remorse. How else would you explain the mushrooming of strip clubs and casinos in most known pleasure resorts of the world?

Keeping the conscience alive and nurturing it with Godly wisdom is the way to live lives in consonance with the norms of the Creator. Ignoring the nudges of the conscience leads it to a slow death, thus turning hearts of flesh into hearts of stone.

However, once the guilt is accepted and atoned for, it should be bidden a farewell and not carried on forever. When you feel guilty, deal with it and then leave it. Do not ignore it. Do not dwell on it for an indefinite period. Do not feel guilty simply because other people make you feel so. Do not feel guilty for things that are beyond your control. Don’t push others to feeling guilty.

The best way to start dealing with guilt is confessing the wrongdoing before God. He forgives and gives second chances to those who truly repent, no matter what the severity of the guilt may be. And, He comforts those who harbour unnecessary guilt by lifting up their burden. He cancels the guilt of the guilty!

GO GUILT-FREE

Have you ever seen a child or a person stammering when he or she lied or done something wrong? When they walk, they look here and there… They speak with their eyes looking at the ground… They avoid other’s questions or interrogation…

It is our conscience that makes us feel like that. Our conscience is the only thing that speaks to us when we are all alone. It is a gift from God. A clear CONSCIENCE is a true friend which always speaks the truth and shows the things that are good and bad. When we are at fault, our guilt conscience makes us struggle to face people. As our guilt consciousness creates a barrier between us with the people around us. Guilt doesn’t allow us to live or walk or speak freely or at liberty. It binds us with a guilty feeling. It takes away our independence. It captivates our mind and soul.

But it is important for all of us to understand our guilt, because it can build us as well as can ruin us completely.

True guilt always leads us to true repentance. True repentance leads us to confessing of our misdeeds or sin and which ultimately leads to forgiveness and restoration… Restoration from being guilty, from a strained relationship and restored to have a clean conscience.

But there is something called false guilt according to June Hunt, one of my favourite personalities among all, who is an author, counsellor and the founder of ‘Hope for the Heart’ organisation that has been helping numerous people in desperation.

She warns about a few false guilt feelings which should not be within our hearts troubling us till the end…

She warns –

  • False Guilt is based on self-condemning feelings that you have not lived up to your own expectations or those of someone else.
  • False Guilt arises when you blame yourself, even though you’ve committed no wrong, or even though you’ve confessed and turned from your sin.
  • False Guilt keeps you in bondage to three destructive weapons – shame, fear, and anger.
  • False Guilt, ironically, is not resolved by confession. (The past keeps coming up again and again) 

False guilt can lead a person to depression and spiritual paralysis. False guilt tends to be very “me-centered,” rather than God-centered. And it makes the person feel that God has left him or her.

Now, this is alarming and false guilt consciousness can be fatal. But in my opinion whether is true or false guilt it should be dealt carefully and needed to be given up at once or else it will literally torment the person day and night and ruin his or her life.

It is not very easy to get rid of guilts. It stays like, forever…

Usually, when I struggle with guilt, a true guilt and I have the realisation that I have wronged a person, I search for opportunity to ask forgiveness from him and restore my relationship with him or her and go guilt free. Trust me, you need guts to ask forgiveness. It is good that we have plenty of options to say sorry these days. Previously, we had only two options – face the person or write a note. But these days, we have Whatsapp, email, messenger and many more options to ask forgiveness genuinely. But nothing can replace the joy of restoration when we are in persons.

Many a times, I have struggled with false guilt, feeling responsible of something which was not in my control. There was a sister like friend who committed suicide and I felt guilty of not paying attention to her when she wanted to share her heart. For quite a long time, I was troubled but later I shifted that guilt into a responsibility or task in hand to train myself well to be sensitive to the needs of people. And I succeeded in my endeavour by God’s grace.

You heard it right, God’s grace is the best cure to our guilt. Once our vertical relationship is smooth and free flowing, our horizontal relationships become alright automatically.

Lastly, if we really want to go guilt-free or lead a guilt free life then we should follow the instruction given as under:

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things; center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart.”

Let’s take responsibility of living with a renewed mind and conscience by focussing on things of higher values, following which are good and live a transformed and guilt-free life.

Stay Blessed!

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Prerna

First of all, I would like to say, this idea of answering the questionnaire was quite unexpected. For me, it came as a surprise. When I came to know about this idea, I was like let’s see whose questionnaire comes into my account. So, I got Kalpana’s questionnaire. However, none of us knew whose questionnaire we will have and who’s going to have ours. But I am really happy with what I got.

1. Is there another side to you, whom we can only dream to know?

Well all of us have our private life. This private life is not shared with anybody. To world I am an outspoken, intimidating and bold person. My image is of a straightforward and I get to hear so many times that my attitude is harsh.

But only a few know how empathic and emotional I am. It really disturbs me to see any human or any animal in pain. I feel as if I am going through the pain. Every time I see people or animals in pain, the only question to the Almighty is, “Why can’t you take away their miseries?”

I like keeping this side of mine hidden. Only few can know but now I have answered this question and so it is no longer hidden.

2. The proudest moment of your life?

Actually, I am still waiting for it, I guess. There were some moments when I was proud. Recently, it was when I came to know, a guy started to write after getting inspired by my writings. And this really means a lot to me. 

3. Have you ever regretted helping someone, I mean anyone whom you realized later isn’t worthy of your time?

Yes, I did. Not once but several times. As I said, I am empathic and so I help those who are in need of help in every possible way. But it’s not necessary others will be like us. Initially, I do whatever I can do for the person who needs help. Eventually, I get to know the one whom I helped wasn’t worth it. It makes me sad at first but then I realize, not everyone is intended to stay in our life. 

4. If not present profession you are in, then what you would have been?

This question is really interesting. And I like it the most. During our childhood, all of us thought about being whatever seemed exciting and interesting to us. Well, I genuinely wanted to pursue law as my career but due to some circumstances, I couldn’t. Although I am fine with what I have now but I wanted to be a lawyer. 

Interestingly, when I was in my teenage, I wanted to be a student at Hogwarts- The school of witchcraft and wizardry (according to the famous Harry Potter series). Even now, when I am a grown-up, I still wish for the same. I know it’s fictional but I wish it was true. 

5. Your greatest weapon/trick up your sleeve that never fails you, whatever you do?

I think it’s my confidence and my fearlessness. These two behaviours of mine have always helped me in achieving what I truly wish for. Whenever I feel, I have no choice but to give my best, then my confidence and fearlessness never lets me down. 

6. If you are given a chance to change one thing about yourself, what it would be?

Actually, I love myself the way I am. I always have had pampered myself and loved all my flaws. I believe, my flaws are the most beautiful in me. Through my flaws, I get a feeling that I am strong and determined. So, I am not going to make any changes in my physique or appearance but yes if there really is a chance, I would like to change my impulsive attitude. I would change it into a very calm and serene attitude. 

7. Your Inspiration to write?

The credit for my inspiration to write goes to my urge to express my thoughts. I can never walk to a person and speak my heart. This is because I am a reserved person when it comes to expressing feelings. Only few can know and those few may or may not be always with me. Therefore I thought the best way to express is to write what I feel. Moreover, I loved reading, so it also counts to the inspiration. 

8. Intelligence (smartness) or honesty that could land you in soup- what’s your pick?

I would go for intelligence. An intelligent person is the one who can win over any situation. Intelligence always attracts me and I consider it to be the most prized possession. 

9. What is your biggest regret in life?

I think everybody has some regrets in their life. So do me. The biggest regret that I have is not one but two. The first regret that I have is: I had a pet named Bruno. Bruno was a small and an adorable puppy. To me, he was like a bundle of joy. The first time I saw him, I couldn’t stop myself from holding that little being into my arms. I used to cuddle him and together we would muffle in my blanket. One day, after feeding him I went on to the washroom without knowing that the door was open. Bruno went out and met with an accident. The poor being was slowly and excruciatingly moving towards death. All I could do was cry bitterly and pray for his painless and easy death. Had I been a bit cautious, my pet would have been with me. 

The second one is: It was the time when I was moving to a hostel for the first time. I hugged my parents and my brother before going. My grandmother was also there. She handed me a little bag full of some fruits and the snacks that she made for me. I touched her feet and took her blessing. I wanted to hug her but I don’t know why I didn’t. This was the last time I saw her alive. She died 22 days later due to cancer. This shook me and till today I feel sorry for not hugging her one last time. I could have told her, how much I love her and what does she means to me. But I didn’t. 

10. Which lane of time you want to visit and stay there forever?

Life is all about moving along with the time. It is not wise to hold on to our past no matter how beautiful it was. There were many beautiful phases in my life to which I am really very thankful, as well as there are many more to come. Also, we should look forward to what’s next. Therefore, instead of wishing to visit a lane of time and staying there forever, I would choose to wait for upcoming moments. However, sometimes I imagine how good it would it be to look at my writings and relive these days.

Thanks, Kalpana, your questions were really brain-storming. Though unintentionally but you succeeded in knowing my secrets. During answering these questions, I really felt like being in an interview. This was so nice.