I don’t know about you, but I always find that I’m lacking one (or more) of three things:
>>a stable, satisfying job
>>a long-term, fulfilling relationship
>>or a clean, well-presented place to live
Many things in life lend a certain joie de vivre, including friends, family and sunshine. As a Londoner, for example, I don’t take the sun for granted at all. There is more to life than work, romance and a place to lay your head at night, but I dwell on the fact that it would be nice to have all three sorted out simultaneously.
At least, I assume so because I wouldn’t know.
The human condition of insatiable (and metaphorical) hunger for more is a much-discussed subject that you could read about in many different outlets. However, I think it deserves rehashing because it doesn’t seem like anyone ever gets sick of complaining about what they don’t have.
Rarely does a day go by without a lamenting tweet, voice mail message or commiserating a supposed lack of blessings with a friend over a glass of wine. Like many others, I am a person who struggles to define my self-worth independent of what I have or what I’ve achieved.
I don’t know how I can determine my self-worth if I didn’t use my achievements and skills as a measuring stick.
When it comes to questions of failure and success, I always let what I don’t have, haven’t done and/or can’t do define me. The hollow feeling I get when I realize I don’t have something I want echoes long after the satisfaction of success subsides.
Articles (like this one), self-help books, motivational speakers and even television shows have thrown around ideas on this much-covered topic. It is, after all, part of the human condition. Or is it? Is it hard-wired in our DNA to let what we don’t have inform how we feel about what we do have?
Most people are hungry for more and are rarely satisfied with one simple serving of success.
Is that feeling we get when we’ve attained something—almost a high, basically a buzz, addictive? If it is, is that a bad thing? After all, think about where we’d be if we didn’t have hungry, enterprising entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg or inquisitive scientists who didn’t give up on their craft, such as Alexander Fleming.
Yet our insatiable appetites can turn from an asset into a problem when we allow ambition to overshadow our contentment. Ambition taken a little too far results in an inability to take a step back, smell the aroma of success and stay satisfied with a small, healthy serving. Once we find ourselves focusing on the next meal rather than the one before us, we lose the ability the stay in the present and enjoy the flavorful bites of life we’re presented with.
How do we stay content?
There’s no easy answer, which is probably why the question continues to be asked and the subject is constant fodder for philosophers, anthropologists and writers such as myself. I’d like to open the floor to everyone—what do you do when you start to feel that rumble in your belly, that pull to get out and get more, be more and do more?
I haven’t found any formula that works all the time, but lately I ask myself:
Is what I’m dwelling on now only going to make me more irritable in the long run?
Asking myself this question makes me think filling my life with more achievements, products and activities is pretty empty. I must take a step back and honor the ones I already have.
So what do you already have, and is it worth savoring? I’ll bet that once you look at what you have like this, you’ll feel a lot more satiated.
Known as the girl who could talk herself out of a paper bag, Khaleelah Jones has always loved sharing her voice with others through any medium possible. An avid fan of reading, anything Francophone, travel and dance, you can usually find Khaleelah gazing longingly at travel blogs or in the yoga studio. Khaleelah lives in London working as a freelance writer and yoga teacher.
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Editor: ShaMecha Simms