A very dear friend has a stuffed Eeyore sitting on a bookshelf as a sort of mascot. I love Eeyore. I always have. But I also realized that if I confine myself to Eeyore’s myopic world view, I miss a lot of things.
I recently saw a term that was new to me. A.D.D. No, not the kind on the spectrum of behavioral issues. I’m well aware of it, having dealt with students and family members that may or may not have gone undiagnosed for too long.
I’m talking a much more subtle problem that goes undiagnosed by far too many of us: Appreciation Deficit Disorder. I suspect it may have side-issues that go untreated as well: Color-blindness being one. That color blindness that notices and fixates on the color red in the traffic lights as we sit waiting for them but fails to notice the color green in the ones we are driving through. We fail to notice them, and therefore certainly fail to be grateful for the small favor. Red lights are “the universe is out to get us”. Green lights are “oh was that a green light?”
ADD is beating ourselves up for the slight burn at the edges of the cookies, and forgetting completely that so many batches turn out just fine; getting a lower grade on a test than we hoped and failing to notice the knowledge we’ve gained in the process of learning; wondering why our spouse, or our children didn’t say “I love you” or “Nice dress” or what-ever compliment we are craving at the moment and hardly paying attention to the fact that the dishes were done without complaint.
ADD is being surprised and feeling bitter that is should snow in April when the tulips are about to open up and not noticing the fact that the tulips are still ready to bloom after the snow has melted.
There are far too many things in life that I fail at appreciating…all those countless little things that add up to being such a big thing. If I allow one little thing like picking the wrong line in the grocery store to ruin an otherwise decent shopping excursion (and I even remembered the coupons!), then that dreaded Appreciation Deficit Disorder has reared its ugly head once again.
The things we focus on, give our attention to, choose to dwell on are the very things that will give shape and meaning to our existence. I can choose to be Eeyore (who has a point, after all); but if I choose to view the world through Eeyore’d eyes all the time, I’m missing out on a lot of possible pots of honey and the beauty of rainclouds and the small friend that just put its paw into mine saying, “I just wanted to be sure of you.”