This is one of those books that I will be rereading for the rest of my life. There is always room for improvement in myself, and there will be situations that I continue to struggle with. This book is divided into 12 chapters, each on what Dr, Dyer titled an erroneous zone. Each erroneous zone, or self-defeating behavior, limits us from feeling completely fulfilled. He addressed subjects such as approval-seeking behavior, procrastination, anger, dependency, and our neurotic sense of fairness.
The chapter that had the most impact on me was the one titled, "The Useless Emotions — Guilt and Worry." I have been really struggling with my sense of guilt, the irreconcilable fact that there is nothing I can do to bring back Minh Nguyen, the human being that I murdered in my case. The finality of his death, and how I
am responsible for it haunts me every day. I live with a sense of indescribable remorse over my actions, and some days the guilt seems quite overwhelming.
But Dr. Dyer gave me a sense of clarity, understanding, and finally, hope through this invaluable chapter.
First, he said guilt means that you use up your present moments being immobilized as a result of past behavior, instead of learning from your past and moving on. He gave some strategies to eliminate guilt
"Begin to view the past as something that can never be changed, despite how you feel about it."
"Ask yourself what you are avoiding in the present with guilt about the past.”
When I actually asked myself these two questions, I had an epiphany — I was devoting my present to feeling guilty because it was easier than examining myself closely and admitting how corrupt and flawed I was, and still am in many respects as an individual. Nobody wants to admit how horrible, terrible, manipulative, and selfish they were, and that is what I was trying to avoid — continuing to take a searching and fearless moral inventory.
All the guilt in the world I felt would not change the facts of my case. What I need to do is continue to address my perpetual penance on a daily basis, and ask God for constant guidance. Live, grow, and give back in the present moments, and courageously face whatever I need to from here on out, instead of wallowing in self-pity and hiding behind my guilt. In other words, I will be more personally fulfilled by living and engaging with my present moments, and doing something towards actually making amends.