Full Life Reflections

Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment in a chaotic world

We’re closing in on the halfway mark for 2018 and it seems like the year is speeding by. I’ve written a few times about my theme for the year, “essential,” including my most recent post recapping my essential wardrobe challenge. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I really need and want in my life, …

Continue reading

You’re probably familiar with the expression, “my past came back to haunt me,” and you likely have some personal examples related to this phrase. While it is always good to live in the present and embrace “the power of now,” do we ever fully escape our pasts? Can we truly be free of our mistakes and poor behavior of years gone by?

This post will focus on our so-called “sins of the past” and how they affect our lives in the present time. I will relate personal examples pertaining to my past relationships and physical health, and do my best to provide useful insights and suggestions for letting go of regrets and repercussions from the past.

This message is a cautionary tale from a longtime “worrywart” (or as my father-in-law used to say, “worryhorse”). I have wasted many hours and sacrificed endless enjoyment by worrying about all sorts of things, most of which never came to pass. It is my hope that my insights today will help other worriers to reform their ways and in turn increase their happiness in life.

I recently listened to an episode of the Happiness Hour from radio talk show host, Dennis Prager. The focus of this hour was on worrying, so I knew I needed to listen carefully. Unlike many people who have “blind spots” in terms of their weaknesses, I knew full well how much of a detriment my habitual worrying was to my life and my happiness.

Dennis Prager stated that there are two powerful reasons to break the habit of worrying:

1. Most of what we worry about never comes to pass.
2. When one is worrying about what might happen, it is impossible for him to be happy in that moment.

Earlier today, I had to call the phone company about an error they had made regarding changes to my service plan. I dread making these types of calls because I invariably end up being transferred to multiple service reps before my issues are resolved. I find myself becoming angry and frustrated at how long these calls take and how inefficiently the company handles what should be a very easy and straight-forward request.

Today’s call was far worse than any other such call I’ve made in recent memory. I was transferred to no fewer than five service representatives and was on the phone for close to an hour. It didn’t take long before I felt my heart racing and my blood pressure rising. I ended up losing my cool during this call and expressing my anger and frustration toward the person on the other end of the phone.

When I got off the phone, I felt shaky and uncomfortable. I wasn’t proud of the way I had behaved during the call. While it’s perfectly reasonable to get upset at inefficiencies and wasted time, I didn’t feel good at how angry I had become. I allowed myself to get “rattled” by what had transpired and I had let these events disrupt my well-being.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The passage above is called the Serenity Prayer. It is used frequently in Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step recovery programs. It is simple yet extremely powerful. I believe that if one fully embraces and lives in tune with the words of this prayer, he or she will live a much more peaceful and happy life.

I dedicate this week’s post to the discussion of the Serenity Prayer, as I feel it is integral to my healing project and the healing of all those who have things in their lives they wish weren’t “so.” That pretty much describes all of us, now doesn’t it?