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If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past year, it’s that so many things are outside our control. And that can be very stressful.

Some of you have fared better with these uncertainties than others. We’ve all learned to cope — one way or the other.

In some cases, you may have been dragged kicking and screaming. And, in others, you may have thrown in the towel.

In all cases, though, it’s important not to lose sight of yourself — and your hopes and dreams. Even if there seem to be more roadblocks and obstacles in your path.

Is There Something Missing in Your Life?

You know the feeling. That nagging voice that keeps popping up over and over again.

If you’re constantly feeling something is missing in your life — and you can’t quite put your finger on it — it could be YOU.

You may have been so preoccupied this past year that you don’t hear that inner spirit, imploring you to follow your passion and fulfill your purpose in life.

Huh? Who’s got time to focus on stuff like that?

Blue Skies

I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my career — both as a researcher and a television host — about the concept of living life fully. The same themes always emerge. Why does it take a life-threatening illness or accident for us to appreciate life as we go along?

We’ve all heard the stories of hostages who are released, and they’re so grateful just to see the blue sky and touch the green grass. Similarly, after a bout of illness, we’re so grateful to be feeling normal. And then we resume our regular routines and find ourselves complaining again about trivial things. Why can’t we sustain that sense of gratitude and awe?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you strive to live continuously by the platitudes of “stop and smell the roses” or “don’t sweat the small stuff.” After all, it’s the contrasts in life that create the depth of our experiences and weave the rich tapestries.

Awareness is the key. If you continue to go about your daily life ignoring your inner messages, you’re likely to find those gnawing questions coming up again and again.

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Settling for Less

Are you settling for less in a relationship or a job? Will you ever be able to communicate effectively with your kids? When are you finally going to master the guitar or pursue that urge to paint? How about trying pickleball? Is your comfort zone becoming too comfortable?

A lot of folks put off their dreams because they can’t see any way in their current circumstances to get there. Mostly, though, it’s fear that keeps us frozen in our dreams – fear of failure, rejection and not being good enough. Or the dream seems so far off, and the steps to get there so overwhelming.

As a disclaimer, these uncertain times have brought certain restrictions. Travel is more prohibitive these days, for example. That doesn’t mean you have to abandon your dreams of traveling forever, though. (See earlier reference to throwing in the towel).

Just because there are more challenges these days doesn’t mean you have to stop listening to that inner voice.

Projection, Your Honor

It’s also very tempting to project these feelings of lack or restlessness onto others. “If only he would pay more attention to me,” or “I’ll never get ahead in my job working remotely.” “These kids are keeping me from having any life of my own,” may be another refrain.

While you may very well be constrained by dire circumstances from pursuing your dreams at the moment, I’m just suggesting you might benefit from some introspection.

Instead of looking externally for other people or situations to make you feel better, inquire within. What’s one thing you could do today to feed your soul? It doesn’t take much. Often, our inner spirits are so starved they’re happy with a few crumbs. Maybe you could surf the Internet to find an article on something that’s been speaking to you. Or go to a bookstore or library.

And then the real fun begins. You’ll start to notice things all around you that speak to your passion — a blurb on the radio or a passage in a book — those amazing “coincidences.” It’s the same principle that kicks in when you buy a new car. All of a sudden you see the same car everywhere — because you’re focused on it and are “tuning in.”

Soul Food

Feeding your soul — even just a few bites at a time — can work wonders. Give some energy and creative expression to those buried desires. Just remember to be gentle with yourself.

The circumstances in your life didn’t occur overnight, and they won’t change overnight. Take it one day at a time, and be aware of any subtle changes you notice. Then build upon them.

If it’s you that has been missing in your life, try showing up for yourself a little more often! And listen to your soul.

©2021 Linda Arnold Live Life Fully, all rights reserved. Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at linda@lindaarnold.org For information on her books, go to www.lindaarnold.org or Amazon.com.

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