Recently, I found myself feeling very uninspired and underwhelmed by life in general. It was frustrating as there didn’t seem to be any particular reason that I could put my finger on or blame for my life feeling lackluster and flat. From the outside everything looked like it was working. But from the inside, it felt like something was missing. I felt like I was going through the motions, doing what I needed to do but not really enjoying it.
It has been almost ten years since I got sick. I am healthy and physically independent now but it has been a really long journey. Since the illness, I have overcome many of the challenges I faced by continually setting my sights slightly higher and expecting more and more of myself. But it wasn’t an easy road. In the back of my head there was always that little voice that reminded me that there were things that I could not do due to physical limitations. These restrictions impacted me on an emotional level as well. I set my standards high but there was a part of me that didn’t really believe that I would ever attain them.
We all have that little voice that reminds us of all the things we can’t do and all the reasons why we will fail. This is the distraction that keeps us from fully allowing ourselves to enjoy and appreciate what we do have. It is that voice that reminds you of past failures and keeps you from appreciating your present. But once you start looking at the progress you’re making despite the challenges you’re facing it becomes easier to ignore that little voice and to be fully in the moment.
Acknowledging and accepting I was feeling uninspired was a true reality check, and one that brought my focus back to myself and how I was living day-to-day. I realized that there wasn’t anything that was missing from my life. I was not loving my life because I was not appreciating it for the miracle that it is. Without appreciation love cannot exist. It is really difficult to experience enjoyment from your accomplishments if you never allow yourself to acknowledge and to celebrate your achievements. At times I found myself so focused on the goal that I forgot why I wanted to achieve the goal in the first place. I would be disappointed if I did not reach the goal and, interestingly enough, if I did reach the goal the happiness was short lived. This was because I had forgotten the deeper reason behind why I set the goal in the first place. For me, the reason why I devote my time and energy into any undertaking is because it enriches my life. But when I work toward those goals and don’t appreciate the impact they are having, I am not allowing myself to really enjoy what I am doing. This was the reason my life had been feeling lackluster.
Happiness is an emotion that can be short lived. A job promotion, a new purchase, or a compliment can make us feel happy but these things are dependent on external circumstances. When we experience joy in our life and ourselves, it is felt internally and can withstand the ups and downs that happen to us externally. When we start to appreciate our life we begin to love our life, even if the immediate circumstance may not make us feel happy.
When you allow external issues to control the way you feel about life, it can feel like you’re riding an emotional rollercoaster. Acknowledging what you do have in your life opens the door to appreciation. Before you can truly love your life you must appreciate it.
“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen
Copyright Dr. Julie Doobay 2014