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Posted on October 11th, 2005

I just realized that I’m back here for the third time. It’s probably the most that I’ve ever written in a day (not in terms of volume, but frequency). This all probably has to do with the amount of introspection that I’ve been doing today; I’ve been feeling very contemplative.

While deep in thought, I noticed something peculiar about introspection. Though it can be a very helpful and constructive exercise, it is also very dangerous. True, one can discover many areas of improvement and shortcomings and work to better those, but see too many or (negatively) focus too much on one and it’s a catalyst for bouts with disappointment and frustration.

For the first part of the day (indeed, for the majority of the day), I was doing just that. I was feeling terrible about myself and feeding off of regrets. I mulled and I brooded. I was a sad panda.

Then it hit me: “Sh-t, Justin! You’re better than this. Snap out of it.” While being all caught up about the garbage, I’ve completely shunned the jewels in my life. I feel that doing this was an act of injustice to the things for which I should be thankful — things currently underappreciated.

It’s just bitter irony that it happened to have been Thanksgiving yesterday. When I prayed, most of my thoughts concentrated on getting help (though I did express some thanks). I was very selfish with it all and it continued on today.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone should suppress certain emotions that cause us to feel crappy. I did that for long enough and that hurt me. On the other hand, I’m not suggesting that everyone should let those emotions get out of control. People do that and other people get hurt. Express them, but to a point. I can’t let them overcome me and distract me from opportunities to turn things around. Nor should anyone else.

Mulling and brooding doesn’t really do anything to help the situation. Especially if the situation occurred in the past. It’s what we do now that really matters, and dwelling on what is behind us isn’t helping our cause for changing it.

I think the biggest thing for me right now is remembering that I need to love myself. I’ve probably said it before, but it’s worth repeating: if I don’t love myself, how can I let anyone else love me? (This includes God, my family, my friends, and if the cards are right, my spouse.) I have to remember that I’m human, and part of that is making mistakes. If I can forgive other people’s mistakes (and I think that I am), I sure as hell ought to be able to forgive my own.

So I look to the realities of my life that I have underappreciated. And there are many. Even in some grim times, there are many. It’s impossible to list all of them, but here are a few that I would like to emphasize:

– Knowing Jesus. I often forget how profoundly this has shaped my life and that, no matter what, there is always hope through Him.
– My family. I have been so unfair to them in the things that I say (or don’t say) and do (or don’t do). I owe so much of what I am to them.
– My friends who really know me. You know who you are. I have only opened up to a handful of individuals, and they haven’t abandoned me. Their ability to be understanding, empathetic, honest, and patient astounds me. Though it sometimes seems otherwise, I love you all and am deeply grateful for you.
– My other friends. I don’t want to discount how much I value them, either. Their day-to-day presence and support does not go unnoticed.
– My education. I am constantly reminded about how fortunate I am to have an opportunity to learn the things that I know. There are so many who are robbed of this, and I should never take this for granted.
– My health. I am, as far as I know, without diseases. I am (fairly) fit and able-bodied. Again, I am so fortunate for this.
– My home. Probably the only tangible thing that I’ll put on this little list. I have a solid, stable roof over my head and heating to keep me warm. There is food in the fridge and a clean space to inhabit. Even in Canada, this is often a luxury.

My heart is swelling as I think about this more and more. So it’s a tad overdue, but I’d like to express my thanks for all of this (and so much more). I am so lucky to be where I am with the people I have around me.

One Response to “Underappreciated”

  1. Tony Says:

    I just finished reading an article about recent discoveries concerning happiness and I think you should read it.

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