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Where is you intended focal point?
Can you post up the original.
I think part of the issue is that the focal point and the lighting are incongruous with each other.
By that I mean that the area that has the most contrast is not the area that is most in focus. We are drawn to contrast. Sometimes the contrast is a contrast in color, sharpness, tonal value, line, etc.
Here, it seems that the area of sharpness is shrouded in low contrast lighting, while the area that is out of focus is illuminated by high contrast light. They have a "cancelling/offsetting" effect rather than an enhancing one. Then having two different areas that both have a cancelling/offsetting incongruity between the sharpness and lighting contrast ... well, it kinda leaves the viewer confused at where the real point of the image is that you want us to look at ... and it goes kinda "flat" as Jim alludes to.
Recognizing this, your pp work can be used (to a degree) to create a change in contrast to draw us (push/pull) where you want us to go when subject & lighting don't always align the way we'd like for them to.
Took a stab at it ... not likely the same as your vision for it would be, but to illustrate the changes in contrast and visual response.