The Reason Why You're a Little Sad Every Day

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I go through periods when I experience an undercurrent of melancholy. I’m not depressed, or unable to get out of bed, but rather, I feel the slightest tinge of sadness, as if there’s something bothering me that I couldn’t name, even if I wanted to. Usually, these periods are short, and they pass without much inquiry or self-reflection, but after my last bout of melancholia, I did some soul searching and discovered the truth - the real reason for my mild disenchantment.

So, what’s the culprit for why we experience days when we feel a little less energized, a little less shiny, or a little less amused when scrolling through funny cat memes? When nothing in our external world has shifted, but there seems to be a shift in our spirit, what’s the root cause?

The real reason why experience an undercurrent of melancholy is because we’re not living up to our fullest potential; we’re not stepping into our highest self, and deep down, we know we could be doing better. In other words, we’re slacking, and we’re not in alignment with spirit.

You see, there are multiple versions of everyone. I know that when it comes to my highest self, the best possible version of me, she writes every day and is physically active on a regular basis. She eats healthfully - mostly fruits and vegetables - doesn’t shop unconsciously, and devotes time everyday to getting centered. There’s another version of myself who’s her complete opposite: She likes to eat large quantities of noodles in bed while watching Netflix. She can go for days, if not weeks, without doing anything active, and she can find all of the excuses in the world as to why she’s too busy to write. Of course, there are lots of versions of myself along the spectrum, and there are endless categories to consider, such as how I show up in my relationship, whether I have positive or negative self-talk, and the list goes on and on.

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When I’m not quite living up to my potential, when I know I could start new creative projects, or step out of my comfort zone, but I’m unwilling, either because of laziness, procrastination, or I’m just feeling kind of blasé, that’s when I feel the slightest bit melancholy. It’s not that I don’t want to wake up in the morning, or I’m slacking on my daily responsibilities, but rather, I’m just a little off center. I’m a bit duller, and I have less zest for life.

When you know you could be doing better, but you’re not advancing in your life: not taking steps towards your dreams and your overall mental, physical, and emotional health, it’s because there’s a version of you who is capable of showing up and advancing towards her dreams, but you’re choosing the other version of you - the one who leaves her socks on the floor and eats frozen burritos for breakfast.

When you become aware of this emotion - this tinge of discontent, you can pivot by getting still and asking yourself the following questions (I would suggest writing the answers in your journal):

-What habits, thoughts, or patterns are no longer serving me?

-What steps am I taking on a daily basis that is moving me in the direction of my dreams?

-In which areas am I slacking, or not living up to my fullest potential?

-If I were to show up for my life boldly and fearlessly, what would my day-to-day look like?

Once you’ve figured out the areas in your life where your’e not in alignment with your highest self, be willing to make the tiniest shifts. If you need to exercise more, commit to exercising five minutes a day. If your job is sucking all of your life energy, and you have none left for creative projects, start hatching a plan to exit that job (even if it’s years down the road). Here’s the key: When you’re willing to look at the parts of your life where you’re not living up to your potential, and your’e willing to make small changes, your life will begin to radically shift. That slight nagging feeling, that little bit of melancholy will disappear; it’s only there to show you where you’re not in alignment. It’s there to point you in a new direction, to push you. 

If you’re willing to give up complacency and take radical responsibility for your life, than you’ll find that with the smallest changes, you’ll experience a much greater feeling of overall fulfillment. You’ll become more excited about life, and you’ll rest easy, knowing that you’re not squandering your potential, refusing to let go of limiting beliefs and negative patterns that are no longer serving you. You can get excited about life, and you can use undercurrents of sadness to spur your personal growth.