Stop. Look around you. Ask yourself what is working, what is functioning as it should? What are you taking for granted right now?
Our world runs on the fuel of creating and selling, on convincing others that more things equals more happiness, but unless you consciously stop yourself, you will begin to get sucked into the cycle and forget to appreciate what you already have. Ultimately, if you are constantly wanting something, you are constantly unsatisfied. And if you are incessantly unsatisfied, you will never find contentment.
Ms. Winfrey’s quote states it rather succinctly. Stop looking outside for what you don’t have, and instead look inward for what you do. Amazingly enough, that is what will create the magnetism that is necessary to create even more to be thankful for. A similar analogy is the “glass half full or half empty” question. Furthermore, if you are continually finding yourself lusting after the new pair of Christian Louboutin heels for example, believing that with them, you too would . . . well, what exactly makes you covet them? Have you slowed yourself down long enough to understand why you desire them so intensely? The whirlwind momentum that is advertisement purposely doesn’t want you to think, they want you to act.
A good rule of thumb for any shopping – whether it be for clothing, furniture, linens, tickets, what have you – is to allow yourself to sleep on it for twenty-four hours. I personally find, that while I may discover something that catches my eye, if I walk away, eight times out of ten, I forget about it, therefore, proving that I truly didn’t “need” it.
Please don’t misunderstand, I know it is human to want to change, grow and improve, I think it is healthy and necessary to always be open to learning. However, what should never be overlooked is if one isn’t thankful for what is already going well, no matter how small (the plumbing is working, you are able to breath without effort, the bills are paid, etc), then no matter what else comes into your life, it will never be enough, because you haven’t learned the behavior of being grateful and appreciative.
Start now. Practice the act of truly realizing what is functioning like a well-oiled machine and tend to it, nurture it. Be thankful for it. The positive attitude, the energy you give off will ignite things to happen around you that you hadn’t even imagined.
A while back, Oprah had as a guest on her show author Sarah Ban Breathnach of Simple Abundance. One of the suggestions on how to create a more fulfilling life was to begin a gratitude journal. Each night, the reader is instructed to write five things down that went well on that particular day. Maybe the weather was to their liking, or their significant other helped clean up the kitchen after dinner – whatever it may be, they were asked to search throughout their day for five things to list. Some days the pen may be hard to put down, while others it may be a struggle, but through this exercise one will find that it becomes easier each time to find at least five things, which brings the focus back to what is already working.
Today or the next time you find yourself longing for something you don’t have, stop and consciously think about everything you do. It just might astound you. You are wealthier than you realize.