ColumnistsFr. Brian D’Arcy

Get yourself on the bright path

Get yourself on the bright path

I was amazed recently to find the following six pieces of advice given to retired people.

They were supposed to make them feel better. To help them cope with the feeling of being passed over. Would they help you?

1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

2. Seek out good things to do.

3. Keep your mind and your muscles occupied. Read and take exercises.

4. Have a good sense of humour.

5. Stop complaining and start being thankful.

6. Give of yourself in any way you can. 


It set me thinking of the various excuses we use as little emotional road blocks on our way through life. If any of the following 10 excuses are familiar and recognisable, let me suggest a few tips on how to get round the road blocks.


1. I can’t take it anymore.

After a day listening to other peoples’ troubles I quite regularly come to the conclusion that I can’t take any more. Yet Socrates offered good advice. He said: “If all our misfortunes were laid in one pile from which everyone had to take an equal portion, most people would be content to take back their own and depart.”

If we think our own problems are bad, ask yourself would you want to take on someone else’s crosses. Learn to live with some problems and ask for strength to cope with those we can do nothing about.


2. My life is so empty.

I admit it’s true. Our lives are empty. We have good friends, good ideas and achievements to be proud of in our lives. The real trick is being able to recognise them. An empty life is best coped with by trying to see the good we can do for others, the good we may have achieved, and the good that we may still achieve little by little.


3. Nothing I do makes the slightest difference.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Almost all great achievements in human history have been accomplished because one person had the guts and the courage to do it.


4. I haven’t got what it takes.

You may not have what it takes to rule the world but you have what it takes to do what you can do best. No matter what our limitations are, each of us can do something to ease the burden of other people.


5. If I could only get away from it all.

It’s obvious we need to get away from it all occasionally. However, the temptation constantly to escape is one of the reasons why we have so many addicted people. It is probably the single most important reason for the kind of society we have.


6. Nobody cares about me.

You are probably half right. But then do you care about anybody? When I get the feeling that nobody cares about me, I usually conclude that people do care about me but don’t show it in the way I’d like them to.

If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable there will be

people who care.


7. I just can’t keep up with everything.

Who can? You have to be selective. Even if you can’t keep up with everything it doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

Only God can keep up with everything. Our task is to select what we can keep up with, leave the rest aside and accept that we are normal human beings.

8. What’s the use of trying?

We don’t have to be a success but we do have to try. We might not be able to foresee how the projects we begin will end, but unless we put our best efforts into it we can certainly predict how it will end. In failure.


9. You can’t beat the system.

It’s a good thing that we “can’t beat the system” because the system might very well be right. It is also comforting to know that almost any system can be beaten. Don’t give up!


10. People are no bloody good.

Here’s a little parable for you. A teacher was taking over a class for the first time. She looked at the roll book and saw the IQs marked off for each child. They were 138, 140, 141, etc. She was delighted to know she had such a bright class. So she tried new methods with the students and they responded well to her approach.

It was only later she found out that the figures after each pupil’s name stood not for their IQ but for their locker numbers. The moral of the story is that most of the time people will be as positive or negative as we expect them to be.