Get compunction and then get a new life…

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

The beginning of compunction is the beginning of a new life.”  (George Eliot)

Jack went on to write – I’ll never forget the teacher who said, “You can do better, Jack.”  I felt compunction.

OK, full disclosure – I had to look the word up. Compunction is not a word that I use, not one that I really understood the meaning of, although one gets an idea of it’s meaning from what Jack wrote.

compunction: noun

[kuh m-puhngk-shuh n]

  1. a feeling of uneasiness or anxiety of the conscience caused by regret for doing wrong or causing pain; contrition; remorse.
  2. any uneasiness or hesitation about the rightness of an action.

In the case that Jack sited from his own life the compunction was a feeling of regret when his teacher pointed out to him that he could be doing better. We all go thorough those thoughts about how we could be doing better if we tried harder or focused more or maybe even just thought longer about things before we act on them.

You don’t have to beat yourself up to have compunction, but it is important to take action after a period of introspection and compunction. Just stilling there thinking about how bored2bad things are or how bad you are for doing what you do is the stepping off point for depression. Compunction helps you identify the things that you should and could be doing differently in order to change your life. Taking actions on those insights is what causes the changes to happen.

restless sleepSo, if compunction is keeping you awake at night; do something about it. Change your life. Get up in the morning with the resolve to take actions to stop going in the direction that is causing you the anxiety or remorse that keeps you awake at night. Many times that only requires small changes in your life; how you act towards and react to others; how you prioritize the use of your time; or maybe just doing the things that you’ve known all along that you should be doing, but just didn’t have the time.

Perhaps the best way to deal with the consequences of compunction is to take those concerns and anxieties to God in prayer and ask for His help in overcoming them. A major contributor to the guilt that you feel is caused by your ego-driven belief that youman praying are in charge of things, that you can change things and that it is only through your own efforts that they will change. Take the time to pause and utter the little prayer that I’ve recommended here many times, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”  Just saying and believing that little prayer will release you from the need to feel compunction about the things that you’ve done and left undone in your life. It will free you to move on to the action steps that are needed. It will change your life for the better and you will sleep better at night.

So, maybe a good catch phrase would be something like the ambulance-chaser lawyers use on TV – “Got compunction? Better get God.”

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