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Davis Journal

Unchanging principles

Jun 06, 2024 10:14AM ● By John Waterbury

As the years come and go, a natural change occurs, and we invariably become either our warmest friend or our greatest enemy. But in either case, and without making excuses, given our limited knowledge, vision and experience, it becomes clear that we are usually doing the best we can at any given point in time.

If we could do more, we would....and in the future, we will! We’re stronger today than yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll be even stronger than today. In this manner, we determine not only our destiny, but the very essence of our existence. This is where perception becomes so important. Because in spite of the people or situations in life, our perception is the most important factor in determining who we are now, and who we will be in the future.

Based on the writings of Goethe, when we see ourselves as we are, we make ourselves worse than we are. But when we see ourselves as if we were already in the process of achieving what we are capable of, we make ourselves what we should be. Unfortunately, worry and complacency often complicate things. Where worry creates tension and stress, complacency creates lack of tension and stress.

This is where the problems begin. On the one hand, we often worry about things which are beyond our ability to control. And when we do so, we become dysfunctional. Sometimes we become skilled at being dysfunctional. On the other hand, complacency’s message is just the opposite of worry.

It’s one of satisfaction with things as they are and rejection of things as they might be. “Good enough” becomes the acceptable standard. Avoid the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. In this manner, worry and complacency go hand in hand. The solution seems to be fairly simple: learn from the past, but don’t get lost. 

Plan for the future, but don’t become preoccupied. Live only one day at a time, but live it to the fullest. And finally, in the midst of all the confusion and uncertainty, take consolation from the fact that it’s possible to adjust to changing times and still adhere to unchanging principles.

So know what yours are.

Then use them.

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.