I love the word 'niggle'. It is definitely an onomatopoeic word. Niggling is that slight, ongoing, nagging thought or feeling we have that is a clue that something is not quite right in a situation.
Last week I had some substantial niggling happening. I spent the week at a resort in Cuba. It was the first time I've been on a sun and beach vacation. I don't like hot weather and I avoid the sun as much as possible so I have never had a big desire to spend a week on a beach. The scales tipped in favour of going because we needed a rest. And I wanted to write. A week at a resort was a good option for us. He could rest. I could write.
It was all good...until the niggling began. It started with my first drink on the beach. I try to avoid single use plastic as much as possible. I'm not perfect but I make intentional choices like carrying a water bottle and using glass straws at home. Each morning I would go to the bar and have my water bottle filled with ice and water and fresh lime. I have an insulated bottle that keeps my ice from melting for hours in the heat. It was all good until I decided I wanted a beverage. I went to the bar and ordered it and I received a plastic cup with a plastic straw. Niggles.
Early each morning, I left our room in the dark to go for a walk to the beach to watch the sun rise. Along the paths of the resort, small trucks would be making the rounds with spray shooting out both sides - pesticides to keep the bugs away. More niggles. In fact, I could list lots of examples here but I think you get the point.
I started to pay attention to this nagging and unsettling feeling I was having. The calm and peace I was experiencing at this resort was constantly being undermined by this niggling feeling that I was contributing to the destruction of the physical environment. (I had already pushed down those values by flying - fully aware that jet fuel is non-renewable energy and the emissions are a big issue in our air quality.)
So why am I writing about it? Because I believe we are all making choices every day that are niggling away at us. Maybe it is eating something that isn't healthy when you are trying to lose weight. Maybe it is buying something you don't need and can't afford. Maybe it is avoiding a difficult conversation.
Here the truth: The more choices we make that are out of line with our values the more those niggles start to eat away at us. Those holes they leave can become filled with shame, anxiety, apathy, discouragement, and depression.
We begin to feel hopeless.
I want you to think about your niggles. Pay attention to them. Let them be a guide to you. Thank them for reminding you of what is really important to you. And fill those little holes with gratitude.