It occurred to me the other day that I will never have what I want–what I am striving for–until I become utterly happy with what I already have.
This revelation came to me last week while I unpacked my “sub-standard” vehicle on our first day vacationing at the lake. I found myself lamenting how old, scuffed up, and uncomfortable the car was. Then I caught myself. Was I really on vacation complaining about what I didn’t have? Talk about not being able to appreciate the beautiful forest for the one ugly tree!
Do I want a new car? Sure. But this one had just carried me and my daughter 864+ miles not including a stop in Minneapolis to see the sights. It has since brought us all the way back home, never once disappointing me, never once letting us down, keeping us safe the whole time. Right now it is sitting out there, covered in bugs and waiting to do whatever is next. It’s overdue for an oil change, unwashed, kind of stinky from our 13 hour road trip, yet ever the reliable mode of transportation.
I mean, come on. I should be happy with that. Grateful even.
We do this sort of thing to ourselves all of the time without thinking about it, and so we limit our chances at success. Think about the last time someone asked you about your job or a project you are working on. Did you think about all of the things that are going your way or did your mind instantly go to all of the things that are wrong? When was the last time you just sat and felt appreciation for where you are right now?
Abundance flows to those who appreciate abundance. It steers away from those who fail to revel in it. This is why your life isn’t as good as it could be. This is why you aren’t the best version of yourself…yet.
How to love your life to get more of what you love
The razor’s edge of wanting something better. We all are (hopefully) striving to become better. We have goals that we work towards every day. This is a good thing. Otherwise, we would be content to languish in mediocrity. That’s certainly not what I want. However, to truly move forward you need to recognize, appreciate, and celebrate where you are and from where you have come. From this stable foothold, you can launch yourself to greater heights.
Practice gratitude. I say this all of the time, and I walk my talk, so when I caught myself being thoroughly ungrateful for my vehicle I was pretty humbled. Of course, the opportunity to get a new one hasn’t come up, because I wasn’t happy with the old one. I don’t deserve better because I am not grateful for what I have. This is how the universe works.
Take good care of what you have. This could mean caring for things (like your house or your computer) or yourself (your state of mind, your health, your job, etc.). When we decide to level up, often we discard (or disregard) what we have now. This is a mistake, because if you can’t take care of and appreciate what you already have (your health, for example), something better will pass you by. If a hotel didn’t appreciate their guests, or treated them poorly, would you go there? Abundance won’t either.
Get perspective. You have this amazing life (job, car, house, phone, relationship), yet all you see are its flaws. What is more important about my car–the fact that it is old or the fact that it consistently delivers us from point A to point B and back again safely? In other words, your life isn’t good enough because you think it isn’t good enough.
Let go of comparisons. One of the things that got me thinking about having an old car is that several of my friends have recently purchased new ones. I started to think, “Why do they get new cars and I’m left with this old one?” I had “Comparisonitis.” Since this is something I also have written about on several occasions, I was, again, humbled and ashamed of myself. Comparison sucks the joy out of life. It makes us unable to be happy for someone else and ourselves at the same time. To read more about kicking the comparison habit, see Shoulding on the Holidays Part 3: Comparison.
Let go of expectations. Along the same lines, expectations of where you should be or things you should have set you up for failure. Expectations are limiting. Who is to say that what you expect out of life is set too low? When you let go of low expectations, the sky is the limit. You begin to attract opportunities that never would have occurred to you before, which might just be the ones that catapult you into the fast lane to success. To read more about letting go of expectations, see Shoulding on the Holidays Part 2: Expectations.
Give to those less fortunate. Nothing will make you appreciate what you have like giving to those who don’t have. Financial advisors and motivational speakers alike tout the extreme advantages of giving in attracting more abundance for yourself. Give even if you can’t afford to give, they say. If you don’t have the money to spare, offer your services. It is humbling and eye-opening to discover first hand how very fortunate you are. Even helping out a neighbor or holding a door open can have a fantastic impact on your abundance-attracting ability. Giving also has the amazing effect of not only improving the receiver’s day but the giver’s as well.
Of course, there are many other ways to draw abundance toward you. I would love to hear what you do to appreciate more and whine less, or some of the struggles you have had in this area. Drop your thoughts in the comments.
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