Imagine a nice summer day: the breeze floats in, and there’s a wonderful scent in the air, the scent of BBQs and jasmine, the sound of children laughing, someone’s lawnmower on for hours, and that’s okay because it’s summer. And, yet, even in the midst of such gloriousness, there can be a feeling I hear from people which I call, “Is this it?” It’s the same feeling that might accompany middle age when you’re feeling uncertain or unclear about what you want from your life and you feel a little lost or a little numb. It can occur in moments between closeness in a relationship, or even after the joy of an entrancing movie or delicious meal. And this moment, this feeling of “Is this it?” can cause stress. In fact, it is stress. It’s a moment of “Is this all there is to life?”
Have you ever had this feeling? It can come after good things happen, a great meal after the 4th of July or while lounging with friends, and all of a sudden: boom! The feeling emerges as restlessness. It may arise after buying a home or having a child—gasp—yes, even after a long-awaited and longed for event. It can occur after you expect one thing and what you get, perhaps a raise or a good grade, is less than what you’d expected. Yet, this feeling is life. It is life when we crave things, long for something, or want things to be different. In fact, Sufis suggest that this thirst for what you want actually allows you to know more about what you want to bring into your life.
It is also life to feel the restless want, the “nothing is exactly what I want right now” feeling, especially after achieving something you’ve wanted for a while (Pychyl, as cited by Johnson, 2012). The bind is, in order to have what you want and move toward your dreams, you have to know yourself. Otherwise, you end up procrastinating.
But, as you make changes, including moving toward your goals, your feelings about yourself and the world can change.emotion (Johnson, 2012). It’s impossible to keep that intense, happy feeling going. But, it doesn’t mean that you won’t experience the high again.
For those of you who feel you need to do something to change the “Is this it?” feeling, I recommend three simple steps:
- Identify the feeling (Are you blah, bored, sad, frustrated, mad?)
- Accept it, knowing that it is temporary and extremely human.
- Bring yourself into the present moment by focusing on your senses (e.g. Where are you? What are you smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, or hearing? Focus on one sense and breathe! ). Tip: Focusing on your senses increases embodiment and allows for more awareness, openness, and appreciation of the present moment.
Above all, be kind to yourself. This moment will pass.
And, for those who want a great new book on understanding and achieving your dreams, I highly recommend Harvard Business Review Blogger, Whitney Johnson’s new book, which was published in May 2012, called Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream.
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