Y is for Yearning

Oh, how often we ache!  We YEARN—having an intense, overpowering longing–for things we do not have or people we have lost.

We become consumed with this desire, as it becomes a persistent, melancholy reminder of what we are lacking, how we have been slighted, what has been taken from us, or how life has not been fair.

We focus on limitations.  We complain about what we don’t have. We are indignant toward others who have what we feel we “deserve” to have. We try to control what we cannot and discard our sense of responsibility toward that which we affect.

We look to others to complete us and provide our happiness in life, and become angry when they do not meet our expectations. We pine away when they leave us to pursue other relationships.  We blame others and our circumstances for all that we are and all that we have become…and sometimes, whether we want to live or die.

We get caught up in the “if only,” the “what if,” and the “why me?” and then become desperate to clench hold of things slipping through our fingers or unhealthy relationships on the way out of our lives.  Or we go out of our way to dig up dirt on others, in order to smugly justify our own deceitfulness.  We expend so much of our energy and precious time on focusing on things and people outside of our control.

What if we redirected our yearnings by becoming healthy in body and mind, or better educated?  By concentrating on these things over which we do have control, would we be happier and have more to offer this world?

What if we learned how to be better communicators or became more self-aware?  Would we be better equipped to resolve the conflicts we have with family, coworkers, partners, or lovers?  Would we begin to see the patterns we use in choosing the people we include in our lives?  Would we avoid those situations which suck the very life from us and make better choices?

Author and educator Helen Keller, who was blind and deaf, lived a life of purpose and fulfillment facing (what others might say are) insurmountable challenges, in addition to the same things that we all encounter on a daily basis.  She said, “I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad…there is just a touch of yearning at times, but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers.”

Rather than yearn for the things that are missing in life or for an easier life, long for the successes that can be achieved.   Yearn to make a positive impact–a difference–without comparison to others, but for what can be accomplished.

I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.  ~Helen Keller


5 thoughts on “Y is for Yearning

  1. A wonderful outlook on yearning which is quite similar to lusting, craving, and coveting. Setting goals and achieving them for your own personal sense of achievement or to make a positive difference in some way is entirely different than “keeping up with the Joneses” or making your goal to diminish the achievements of someone else.

  2. Lots of good thoughts here.

    I think one thing that keeps a lot of people from getting what they most desire is a simple failure to ask. I don’t know whether they feel that speaking up would be brash, selfish, or in the case of women, possibly unladylike, but I see it a lot. Someone feels resentful about someone else falling short of whatever they wanted from them, but when asked, they admit that they never actually told that person what it was they they wanted.

    I’m blogging my way back from Z to A and my “Y” post is right here.

  3. catchats

    Great post about yearning. I like how you suggest turning that yearning (hey that rhymes!) around and making positive changes. Love the reference to Helen Keller. I have such admiration for a woman who did so much despite insurmountable challenges of being blind and deaf.

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