365 days of repetitive living…year after year. I have a tendency to smile at the same acquaintances, nod at the same baristas, and greet the same coworkers. This is my life. Sometimes it seems like that is all I am capable of doing. The workload piles up, the expectations are increased, and then I smile because that’s necessary. Then the cycle starts over. Did I mention this is my life?

This is the way I view my life at times. Smile…work…life…work…and try to smile. This is nothing unusual because this is your life too. We get caught up in the redundant progression of life. How can we escape this for the slightest moment?

Let me pause that thought for a moment and share a story.

I was caught up in a “this is my life” cycle just today. Just a bad morning, bad headache, bad day, bad week…or so it seemed! I was aggravated with myself. I continued to repeat, “Why did I say that? Why did I not do that?” and “I could’ve avoided a lot of frustration if…” I took my aggravated self to work early and realized the computer was not working fast enough, the scanner finally decided to cooperate after 3 failed attempts, and the mail was too slow getting there. As I was waiting impatiently on some documents to be finalized I picked up a book that I spotted sitting on the shelf…and of course I can’t remember the name of it.

I was thumbing thru the book and a chapter title caught my attention. I started reading on How To Make People Like Me or something like that. How on earth can I do that? The very idea of seeing myself thru someone else’s eyes stopped me. It takes nothing away from me to simply be kind. Suppress the attitude and deal with life without dragging others into it. Now don’t misunderstand me, the sweet receptionist never realized I was having a rough day and my boss sure never got wind of it. But I was holding back happiness. It was one of those inner battles. Those are the battles that keep us in the “this is my life” cycle. It makes the rest of what we are doing appear to be miserable; it keeps us on edge.

One of the quotes in that book had me zeroed in. It stated: “If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return…we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.” Think about it. Being selfish does not only concern physical things. Being selfish is to be self-centered and driven to pursue your happiness alone. What if our escape from the tiresome cycle is just that easy? Appreciation!

Life is life. We all deal with things, problems, and annoyances. However, what if we learned to appreciate the small things more. It follows the simple equation, focus on something good and the bad will become less visible. Appreciation should not be limited to certain holidays or occasions, right? What would it hurt to try it out? If others start admiring your ability to make them feel appreciated, surely it’ll make you feel a little ounce better at least.

Send the text you don’t want to send because of selfishness. Tell your boss you admire their strength and ability to care so much. Compliment the teller’s new hairstyle. Break away from your “this is my life” cycle and let it become “this is my life to appreciate”…it’ll do you and everyone around good! Trust me on this one… : )

-A Paramedic’s Daughter

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