Full Life Reflections

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

When I launched this blog two months ago, I mentioned that it would pretty much pick up where my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic, left off. The tagline for that blog was “Trade Your Full Closet for a Full Life,” but the majority of my focus during its four year tenure was on the full closet …

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Have you ever heard of the term, “Debbie Downer”? This term, based upon a fictional “Saturday Night Live” character, refers to a person who is frequently negative and complaining, thus bringing down the mood of everyone around her. Sadly, I have to admit that I can be this person at times, and since my name is Debbie, that makes it even worse!

I don’t mean to complain a lot, but there are times when I catch myself spouting out all kinds of negativity. At least I catch myself more often these days, but I am still dismayed when I realize I am whining and complaining. My husband gets the worst of it, and this normally very tolerant man has been known to lose his patience with me on occasion. Yesterday was one of those times, which is what has prompted me to write this post. I will look at why we complain, when it’s okay, and how to reform our tendency to gripe and moan.

What contributes to your level of happiness more strongly, your weight or your love life? A recent article posted on the Daily Mail website revealed some surprising findings from a 24-year study on the topic of happiness. This post outlines key points from the article, as well as my insights related to slimness, relationships, and contentment.

The Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin conducted a study of the ups and downs of the lives of thousands of Germans from 1984 through 2008. One of the findings of this study was that a woman’s weight has a greater effect on her happiness than her love life. Being obese is associated with a higher degree of emotional suffering and dissatisfaction than being single and having a thin body leads to more life satisfaction than being in a committed romantic relationship.

About a month ago, my neighbor of 2.5 years was taken to the hospital in the middle of the afternoon. He never returned… I since learned that he has terminal brain cancer and is living out his final days in a local hospital. I had passed him in the hallway many times, but had only uttered a quick “hello” to him before continuing on my way. I never took the time to get to know him, or vice versa.

I don’t really know any of my neighbors. We pass each other on occasion, sometimes smiling, sometimes nodding, but rarely interrupting our busy schedules to take the time to get to know each other. We all have more important things to do, it seems.

I have close to 200 Facebook friends, but very few people I can honestly call real friends, and even fewer with whom I connect on a deep level. We have more and more ways to connect with others through the advances in technology, but the level of connection that is happening is becoming increasingly superficial. All of the technology in the world can’t change the fact that we are growing more and more socially isolated in our society. Loneliness is becoming the biggest epidemic in our country, even bigger than cancer, AIDS, or heart disease.

Today’s post focuses on a concept introduced by author Dennis Prager in his book, “Happiness is a Serious Problem.” I highly recommend this book as a concise and extremely informative book on the often elusive subject of happiness. Dennis presents a number of life-changing philosophies in his book, but one of the best is the concept of the “missing tile syndrome.”
Imagine this Scenario…

Imagine that you are in a dentist’s office having your teeth cleaned and are thus focused on the ceiling above you. As you glance around the room, you notice that one of the ceiling tiles is missing. Although the majority of the ceiling is pristine and perfect, you would likely be transfixed upon that one missing tile for the remainder of your visit.

As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on what is missing instead of on what is present. That is fine for ceilings, as they can be perfect. The danger is when we apply the same focus and filter to our lives…