Focus on what you don’t have and you will never have enough. Be thankful for what you do have and you will end up having even more.
It’s a vague feeling you can’t quite put your finger on. From the outside, people might think you have an awesome life, but they can’t see what’s going on in your head. Emptiness fills your thoughts and emotions all too often, nagging at you throughout the day. You set goals but they never satisfy your ego. The search can seem almost endless at times.
And the question continues to circulate throughout your mind: “How do I find happiness?”
You don’t have to live like this. Fortunately, there is a better way to view the world that will lead to what you seek. The first step along the way is to stop searching. You will never find happiness by continuously looking for it. When you focus on the lack of something in your life, what you seek will always elude you.
Rather than dwelling on what is missing, begin to look at what you have. This isn’t just about material items. It can be people, experiences, pets, or anything else you have present in your life. When you focus on the abundance you already have, the negative feelings that come from lacking something else gradually fade from your conscious.
Having trouble thinking of some things to feel grateful for? Here’s a short list of things you have to smile about – some obvious signs you’re doing just fine in life:
- You have food available to eat. – When you eat something today, even if it’s just a small snack, give thanks. Savor it and appreciate the fact that you can grab something to eat anytime you’re hungry. Stop and think about the farmers and manufacturers who provided it, and even the people who distributed the food to your location. A lot of work goes into making your food available to you. Be grateful for it.
- There is a nearby faucet with clean water. – In many parts of the world clean water is not readily available. Some people walk miles just to get water that is dirty and contaminated. Others struggle through tough terrain and incredible danger to get access to the very same quality of water you have on-demand access to. So next time you turn on your faucet, smile.
- You take a warm shower at least once a day. – Speaking of water, this one is so easy to take for granted, especially if you shower every morning just to freshen yourself up. So many people don’t have access to clean water, let alone clean warm water that can instantly wash over their skin and help them greet the morning. You do, however, and this is a true privilege.
- You have your own comfortable bed. – When you get home after a long day and plop down on your bed to rest, it’s easy to forget how miserable you would be without it. It’s easy to forget about the thousands of people in this world that don’t have this luxury. So next time you lay down on your bed, take a second and feel how soft and comfy it is and say, “Thank you.” As you close your eyes, let appreciation pour from your heart.
- There’s a roof over your head and walls around you. – While you’re in your bed at night drifting off to sleep, think about the roof that’s keeping you dry and safe. It’s kind of a big deal. Bugs and wild animals could have their way with you without your home’s roof and walls. You would also be at the mercy of all the elements: rain, cold, snow, wind, heat, sun, etc.
- You can control the temperature of your environment. – This one gets forgotten easily, until it’s the middle of July and the air conditioning stops working, or the middle of winter and the heat doesn’t come on. While things are in working order, be grateful each time you adjust the thermostat in your home or car and it begins to change the temperature of your environment.
- You don’t have to walk everywhere. – Whether you have a car, a bike, or just enough money to get where you need to go using public transportation, it sure is nice to have the option not to walk. Appreciate the fact that you have some way to get around, even if it isn’t the classiest conveyance available.
- You’re wearing clean clothes. – You may not have the nicest, the newest, or the trendiest clothes. You may even have a stain or two on your favorite pair of jeans, but they are clean and they keep you warm and comfortable. Every day when you open your dresser drawer, look at all the options you have and smile. Grab a piece of clothing and take a big whiff of that clean, fresh laundry scent. Life is good.
- Morning coffee and tea is an option. – (I’m mentioning this because it’s one of my personal favorites.) Instead of just gulping down your daily cup of joe or tea, try sipping on it slowly, savoring every little bit. Enjoy the steamy goodness, the earthy tones, and the smooth balance of flavors. Savor the goodness and let it remind you of how fortunate you are.
- There are people in this world who love you. – Life is happiest when it’s shared. Cherish your close friends and family members. You’re lucky to have them. Even in life’s hardest times, you can sustain yourself with the love they give to you. They are significant; never forget how significant.
- There is oxygen available to breathe. – This is perhaps the most universal luxury we all take for granted. Your life wouldn’t last very long without it. Take a deep, slow breath and feel your lungs expand. Someone once said oxygen is something we don’t think about until we don’t have it. So go ahead, take a moment and think about it now.
Recognizing these simple luxuries you already have in your life on a daily basis can take you from a mindset of wishing you had more, to a mindset of joyful appreciation. Give it a try.
What would you add to the list? What’s something you’re grateful for that you sometimes take for granted? Please leave a comment below and let the community know.
Author Bio: Ernest Dempsey is a counselor and fiction author from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Check out his books and his powerful blog posts at ernestdempsey.net or follow him on Twitter @ErnDempsey.
Photo by: Tanzil Tafheem
Jon Harper says
I am grateful of an amazing wife and two precious children. To simply get to come home each day and spend time with them is all I ever need. And yet I have much much more and cherish it everyday.