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Davis Journal


May 09, 2024 01:20PM ● By John Waterbury

One of the greatest transitions in life is when we stop running from the darkness and start moving toward the light. It’s a developmental process in which we move from uncertainty to acceptance, from hesitancy to confidence, and from a fear-based existence, to one of greater faith.  

It’s important to remember that we have always managed everything that has happened to us in the past, and we will always be able to do so in the future. Either by ourselves or with the help of those around us, we will manage it. Life is full of lessons, but sometimes we’re slow to catch on. Whether we’re talking about ourselves, or our kids, or our grandkids, we seem to be willing to tolerate a tremendous amount of pain, before we change our course. Even with all of this, we’re taught that the transitions will guide us through the periods of uncertainty.  

Apparently, when we mismanage our lives, or when we settle for less, we need to remember that life is a process, and while it may be painful, it will all be worth it. There will be transitions that will enable us to learn and rise above our challenges. There will be periods of loss and confusion and uncertainty, and there will be trials and transitions that will enable us to learn and rise above them, and that’s important because while faith doesn’t make it easy, it makes it possible.

Abraham Maslow wrote: “A musician must make music, an artist must create, and a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.” 

When this piece of philosophy is applied to us, it becomes clear that all that we can be, we must be.  As Richard Eyre wrote, “To those who believe in Eternity, and who don’t give up, there is no failure, there is only delay.” Life is a process, and it’s going to hurt, but it will all be worth it. There will be transitions that will enable us to learn and rise above our challenges, and at times, it may almost seem that our faith is all that we have to hold onto, but that’s good because even though faith doesn’t make it easy, it makes it possible. 

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to develop bad habits? All we have to do is follow the path of least resistance; just go with the flow. As we do so, we often lose our fear of the unhealthy parts of life, resulting in a desensitization to the negative forces. For the most part, we may not even be aware of the negative consequences until we find ourselves overwhelmed. The forbidden becomes familiar, the familiar becomes normal, and the negative consequences of these patterns are often denied or ignored. “Just this once” becomes “Just once more.” Self-defeating patterns become established, habits become addictions, and the pain, guilt, and deception increase geometrically.  

Fortunately, since failure is frequent in the early stages of reformation, the pain of failure becomes increasingly intolerable. Ironically, these failures serve as the prerequisites that lead to a recognition of the need for total abstinence, not because of the rightness of the choice, but because of the cumulative pain. Eventually, confidence expands, and a commitment materializes. The freedom that may have been previously only dreamed becomes a possibility, and then a reality.

As a change of heart develops, new choices are made, and changes occur. The euphoria of freedom is experienced, and the commitment to freedom is chosen as a way of life.  

Generally, to every problem in life, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. Self-worth seldom goes away completely, but it can be forgotten or overlooked. The solution? Feel the feeling and change the thought. Pain is unavoidable but continued suffering usually diminishes with time. A wide variety of symptoms can materialize, but symptoms are simply messages that are not understood. Once those messages are understood, they become easier to manage. While the time frame is different for everyone, generally, no problem will destroy every part of life, unless we give it the power. So, if we don’t want to slip, logic states, don’t walk in slippery places. However, if we keep on doing what we’ve done, we’ll probably keep on getting what we’ve got.

To assume that life isn’t the way it should be, and to be angry because of that assumption, is merely to state that our perception is imperfect. In reality, everything has its own time and season, and there is purpose, reason, and wisdom in all that touches our lives, but perception is imperfect, and we are usually unable to fully comprehend the significance of life. That life isn’t the way it should be is merely to state that our perception is imperfect, and we are usually unable to fully comprehend the significance of life. At times, we may get a glimpse of understanding, but it usually doesn’t last.  In fact, it seems to evaporate, leaving the fear, anger, and insecurity of our present condition.  

Fortunately, we don’t have to have it all right now. Growth and development take time. It has taken a lifetime to get to where we are, and it will probably take the rest of our lives to get to where we want to be. So, we need to accept ourselves as we are right now and become your own chief competitor.  For in the race of life, it’s better to be better than we were, than to be better than anyone else is.

Success in this process seems to depend on three things: Knowing what’s too much for us, knowing what’s too little, and knowing what’s just right. It’s all part of the process of growing into who we really are. While life is for learning, we don’t always learn what we want to, in the way we want to, or when we want to. The key is to take our experience in whatever form it comes, discover its significance, discover our significance, and then use that knowledge to make a difference. That seems to be a part of our ultimate destiny. While destiny leads some, it often drags the rest of us, kicking and screaming!

Let’s face it, sometimes it seems to be a crazy world, but no one ever said it would be easy. So, since life is probably just the way it’s supposed to be, accept it as it is, make the most of it, and do what you can, in spite of what you can’t. Your happiness depends on it. Your sanity hangs in the balance. So, don’t worry, be happy, because at least for the time being, this life is as good as it gets.    

Dare to do mighty things. Dare to be bold. Dare to outgrow your previous self. Dare to redefine yourself. Dare to know what you want. Dare to be and dare to become. Dare to have courage, and dare to do what must be done. Life isn’t always fair so, adapt. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t destroy your present. Hate makes people sick, so forgive everyone everything. You don’t have to win every argument. If a relationship has to be kept secret, you shouldn’t be having it. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. Whatever other people think of you is none of your business. Time heals almost everything, so give time, time. Don’t take yourself too seriously. However good or bad a situation is, it’ll change. Believe in miracles. The best is yet to come.  

John Waterbury is a retired Clinical Mental Health Counselor who has lived in Utah since 1984 when he moved to Bountiful with his wife and four children. Since then, he has written a weekly column for several years for the Davis County Clipper titled “The Dear John Letters” which was also used throughout the intermountain West focusing on addiction and mental health problems. This new column will focus on mental health and life management issues.