I’ve spent a good part of 40 years working to feel seen and acknowledged by those around me.

No matter what I did though, I never felt like it was enough. On occasion, people would express appreciation, but often there would be no expression of appreciation at all. And that left me feeling empty.

It became hard to show up every day, knowing I wouldn’t be overtly appreciated. Yet, I needed it. I craved it.

Each day ended with a feeling of emptiness.

I was beginning to recognize that I was solely depending on external appreciation to feed me.

I wasn’t getting enough though.

What years of reflection and introspection have shown me is that while external appreciation feels good, it is not a dependable source of fuel.

I had to tap into my own source of self-appreciation. Did I even have one?

I did. I do.

It’s taken me decades to even begin to break through the tough exterior but, the day I did, the day I broke the skin, I felt fed for the first time in years.

Nothing extraordinary happened that day.

I went into my office and just sat.

There was a backlog of work to do. I’d been letting things slide. But, I didn’t want to do any of it. I didn’t even know where to begin.

I continued to sit. Just sit.

My mind kept trying to chime in, “For God’s sake, DO something already!”

I spoke back to it. “But I don’t know what to do.”

My mind quickly shoved the massive to-do list in my face.

I shook my head, “I don’t want to do any of it.”

“Then why are doing them?”, I heard a voice ask.

It was a good question.

I didn’t have an answer. I just sat there. And, in the quiet of my office, I let my “intuition” guide me.

I spent the whole day in my office, letting myself be guided by that soft, but strong, voice.

At the end of the day, I hadn’t done a thing on my to-do list. But, I felt fulfilled. More nourished than I had felt in years. And I felt so much appreciation for myself and for the ideas that had come forth in my own silence and stillness that day.

I had listened deeply. What a show of self-appreciation!

I fed from an internal source that day. And it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced.

While external appreciation feels good, there’s an even better source from which to feed.

Be still and know that I am God.