We are a generation of insatiable wants. It seems that no matter what people have, they always want more. This is a conditioning that we are accustomed to. Advertisers are experts at striking the emotional cords within us that makes us crave a particular product. It gets to the point where people cannot distinguish between wants and needs.
This conditioning has made people unhappy. Regardless of what one has, it is never enough. The "more" syndrome becomes an endless cycle. We have an appreciation level of about 3 minutes. This causes us to continually look forward at what we are going to get next.
Gratitude is an emotion that many philosophies teach is central for lifelong happiness. It also is something that we lost as a culture. If you want to be happy in this moment, get grateful for all the things that you have now. You are blessed in so many ways. Recognize that and be grateful for it.
This is true no matter what your present situation is. Regardless of your struggle, there is always a worse situation you could find yourself in. The old saying is "I was unhappy about my shoes until I met a man with no feet". This insight provides the shift in perspective necessary to be grateful.
Here is an exercise: instead of comparing yourself to those who have something you want, begin to compare yourself to those less fortunate. We tend to envy the neighbors for the new car, house, or pool. This puts a sense of longing within us. The problem is that we are overlooking what we have when we do this. We are not grateful with this mindset.
We take things fro granted until we lose them. This seems to be a fact of human nature. Here is an example: are you grateful for your car battery. Most fail to think about it until they go out and the car won't start. Then we wish we had a battery that worked. The same can be said for anything in our life.
Remember this little exercise when you are beginning to feel down. If financial circumstances are beating you up, go online to view some pictures of life in Africa. This will give you an instant shift in perspective. We think we know what poor is in the western world. Not really. The continent of Africa takes poverty to a level that most of us cannot imagine. Those people would most likely sacrifice parts of their body to be in our shoes. Yet we complain because those shoes are not the latest Nikes. It is time to get appreciative for all that we are given.
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