November 25, 2015

How to Live with a Feeling of Gratefulness & Wealth (When We are Feeling Neither).


It is incredibly easy to get caught up in a world full of wants, must haves and latest trends.

All of us experience this in one way or another, including myself. I get sucked into beautiful images on social media and I am forever seeing things that I “need.”

FOMO—the fear of missing out, of not being good enough just as we are, with what we already have—is making a lot of us broke.

We buy one house, fill it with stuff, then we upsize to another. We upgrade our cars, replace perfectly good phones with newer versions and buy sh*t we don’t need all in the name of keeping up with the Joneses, saving face and being on trend.

Then there is the flood of social media we’re exposed to constantly. Numerous luxury items tagged and shared, perfect smiles and homes snapped and feeds full of idyllic beach shots, pineapples and toned bodies.

All this leaving us comparing ourselves to others and feeling kind of lacking. Lacking in money, style, travel, lifestyle or significance.

We could argue that all of the above doesn’t harm us and brings a certain joy to life that only shopping and spending money can buy, and I certainly feel this way at times too. There’s nothing like purchasing something that you absolutely love and can’t wait to wear, use or add to your home.

My feeling however is this—when done from a state of feeling like we are lacking and constantly needing something more we find ourselves caught in a vicious cycle of always needing more and more and never being completely fulfilled or grateful for what we already have in our lives to enjoy.

In the sea of whatever your life might be right now—endless long working days or perhaps no job at all, with less holidays than you’d like to be having, days spent in the midst of caring for and feeding many others, very little spare cash for added luxuries—how can we look at our own lives and feel a sense of gratitude and wealth for everything that we already have?

Here are a couple important points to consider:

1. What does real wealth mean to you? (Think beyond money—in fact no talk of money allowed here at all). In what ways are you already wealthy?

Money does not equal happiness or wealth. In fact we could have plenty of money in our bank accounts but still feel poor, unhappy and unfulfilled in our lives.

Perhaps it’s the freedom of choice and opportunities you have that bring a sense of wealth to your life. Or the endless possibilities for growth through reading, exploring and meeting new people. Being able to enjoy your surroundings, your neighbourhood, with a sense of peace and safety. The love of your family. Having someone that truly has your back and is there for you no matter what. A memory that you hold dear.

2. What does living gratefully encompass to you?

We can be happy with a lot less than we realize. In fact studies show that it is the continued expectation and need for more that often leads to the greatest feelings of discontent and unhappiness.

What exists already in your life now that you can be truly grateful for? Right down to the smallest of joys in your day. The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. The sound of your children laughing. Friends to spend time with. Warm smiles from loved ones. The comfort of your home and your own space. The sound of the ocean and the feel of the sea breeze on your shoulders.

So easily we forget and dismiss the simple treasures in our lives, forgetting that these are the important things. The joys that if they were taken away from us we would truly yearn for.

Money and possessions matter very little beyond the meaning that we give them. Because in truth if we have a comfortable life, enough food on the table, clothes on our back, a warm bed to sleep in and our health then we have a lot more than many others have the chance to enjoy.

It’s important to recognize that so often we have a desire for something because we feel a sense of lack. Behind every desire and every want is a need and need is double edged.

A need can be positive, bringing growth and expansion to our lives or it can come from a desire to fill a sense of emptiness and lack that we carry. An emptiness that can only be completely filled by being grateful for everything that we already have.

We cannot be what we don’t already define ourselves as. An energy of lacking brings with it only more feelings of lacking.  Feelings of gratefulness and wealth can only arise from looking around at our lives, seeing everything that we already have to be grateful for with fresh eyes and reminding ourselves of it on a daily basis.


Relephant Favorite:

The Coolest Thing about Gratitude


Author: Carla Da Costa

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Flickr/Dawn Ashley

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