Recapture the joy of being

Posted: Tuesday, January 01, 2008
What if you could decree that in some miraculous way the whole world would agree to a week of peace? Everyone would put down their arms, everyone would let go of anger, stop fighting and embrace peaceful coexistence and forgiveness.

How wonderful if this dream could become reality! My rational brain knows all too well that wishful thinking may not change the woes of the world. But I also know with certainty that there is a way to change one’s own life for the better and recapture the joy of being. Achieving inner peace is entirely possible if we are willing to chase our soul’s negative inventory and let loving thoughts in.

The process to achieve a state of happiness starts with the decision to ban all the anger and hurts we’ve been accumulating for days, months, even years. Holding on to resentment or hurt undermines our lives, professionally and personally. Harboring negatives leads to depression, poor decision making and negative behavior. There is abundant research documenting that holding on to repressed anger or resentment actually causes stress chemicals to be released in our bodies. They, in turn, contribute to health risks and may even cause a serious health event.

So how do we go about ridding ourselves of accumulated “grief and gripe inventory”? The decision to do so is half the battle. It is most effective to start reviewing the true sentiments toward the people we are closest to: our love or life partner, our children, in-laws, friends, relatives or even the people at work or neighbors – all the folks that are in our lives or cross our lives regularly.

How many among of these people appear on our “grievance” list? How many grudges, small or large, do we harbor against them? Why do we store these ill feelings? To what benefit? Just to seek revenge or keep these trespassers at a distance? Or is it time to consider forgiveness?

Even though we still feel that we were wronged, even though we have endured painful events, we can choose forgiveness as the step to a happier life; we can forgive ourselves, forgive the people who wronged us, and forgive life which is hardly ever fair. Nobody else has the power to change our inner landscape from turmoil to peacefulness. Only we do.

We can practice the process by opening a loving discourse with the person that means most to us. Set some ground rules if you choose to have a “forgiveness” conversation. Both participants agree to a constructive, caring review with the objective to wipe out past wrongs. The rewards are instant. Each person will feel good about having a chance to have a new beginning.

Forgiveness does not mean that if our partner or friend or child offended us, this is okay. It is not. And you may certainly express that thought. But what happened in the past cannot be undone; it can only be forgiven. The state of peacefulness can be reestablished if the willingness to forgive and forget is meant. Opening our hearts without reservations can make a real difference in every single day of our lives.

This is the time of year to start anew. Step out of the role of victim and become a happiness spreader. Look for the good and know that we can forgive the bad. As a tangible act of faith we can express our sentiments by sending out “forgiveness notes” to all we have harbored ill thoughts against in the past. There is no doubt that we will respect ourselves for having the strength to execute this act of good will.

Remember, we may not be able to change the world for the better, but we are able to affect our own world, and the good feelings we spread will reverberate a thousand times.

Jacqueline Brandwynne has worked in the health and beauty industry for more than 25 years and is creator of the Very Private line of products. Visit her at

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