Many people experience dissatisfaction, unhappiness or downright suffering because they want what they don’t have. It’s a painful way to live. Whether it’s wanting the partner you don’t have, the house you don’t have, the money you don’t have, the weight you don’t have, the looks you don’t have … whatever … it’s a painful way to live. Barbara takes a look at this problem and offers us a new strategy!
Want what you have
by Barbara Berger
Are you suffering from what I call the ‘never good enough’ syndrome? Are you always wanting more than what is? And are you beating yourself up because you don’t have it? Are you convinced that what you had before was better than what you have now? And that what you have now is not as good as what your neighbors have or what your best friend has. Are you also quite sure that your health isn’t as good as it used to be and that the weather isn’t either. Do you have a sneaking suspicion that the weather was better in the good old days? And that the state of the economy was too? Or at least the state of your economy was? And when it comes to your clothes, do you feel that they’re not as good as your friends’ clothes nor is your sofa come to think of it. Not to mention your TV which isn’t the latest model with the latest hi-tech finesses either. Also do you feel that it’s unfair that your rent is higher than it used to be and that the cost of living just keeps going up just like the prices in the supermarket?
Or maybe you feel that life was more exciting when you were younger or that life will be more exciting when you get older? Or that life will be more satisfying when you graduate from university and get a good job or when you get married and have a family. Or maybe you’re convinced that if you had a boyfriend/girlfriend you could count on everything would be so much better and you’d finally be safe. Does any of this sound like you? If it does, then you’re suffering from what I call the ‘never good enough’ syndrome!
No wonder you’re not happy!
Think about what’s going on in your mind! It’s a war zone! It’s a constant battle with reality. No wonder you feel stressed and unhappy.
If this is anything like you, maybe it’s time you ask yourself what good all these constant comparisons are doing you? How do they and your stories and expectations improve the quality of your life here and now? The reality is your rent and the cost of living are going up. The reality is your health isn’t as good as it used to be and your TV isn’t the latest model and your sofa is worn out. The reality is you don’t have a wife and kids and the perfect family. So let’s face it, according to the stories you’re telling yourself, you’re never going to be OK or happy. And it’s all because of the stories you’re telling yourself about how your life should be, when the reality is your life isn’t like that.
If this isn’t insanity, what is?
A new strategy
So why not try a new strategy? Since we all know that we suffer when we want what we don’t have, why not try a new strategy and decide to want what you do have instead? Is that such a weird idea? Well just think about it for a moment. It’s really very simple. We just found out that our unhappiness arises from wanting what we don’t have. So why not want what you have instead!
Let’s take a closer look at this mechanism.
Take a moment and bring yourself home to yourself. Now ask yourself – and answer as honestly as you can – what is making you unhappy right now, right this very moment? Chances are it’s because you don’t have what you want – or because you have what you don’t want, which is just another way of saying the same thing. Is this true or not? Be honest with yourself. The only thing that can be preventing you from being happy right now is wanting something you don’t have. Maybe it’s better health, maybe it’s more sunshine, maybe it’s a nicer apartment, maybe it’s a partner who’s more understanding, maybe it’s more money in the bank, but whatever it is, it’s something you don’t have at this very moment in time. And this is what’s making you unhappy now. Is what I am saying true or not? What else could be making you unhappy at this very moment? It can only be the thought of what you don’t have that’s making you miserable. So why not decide to want what you have and be happy instead? This is not as crazy as it sounds, especially when you realize that all our experiences are just thoughts in our mind anyway. There’s no escaping this fact – every single experience we are having is just a thought in our mind – every single one of them. There is nothing else going on. Even though some of these thoughts (and experiences) are thoughts and experiences we like and therefore desire while others are thoughts (and experiences) we dislike and therefore resist. However you look at it, that’s all that’s going on. Thoughts in your mind, which you either like or dislike. And that’s about it. The situations in themselves, the specific events and circumstances that we like or dislike, really don’t have much to do with it at all. They are just the happenings of being alive that are unfolding before us. It’s our preferences that make us happy or sad.
Experiment with wanting what you have
So let’s experiment for a moment with wanting what we do have. First of all take a good look at what you have at this very moment in your life. Look at what you’re doing, look at where you’re sitting, become aware of what and how you’re feeling, and notice what’s going on around you. Take it all in – whatever it is. Don’t be judgmental in any way, just look around and see what’s going on around you in your life right now. Both externally and internally. Then take a deep breath and ask yourself how you would feel if you really and truly wanted exactly and precisely all of this right now. How would it feel if you could only want this? If you could only want everything that is happening around you right now as well as everything that’s going on inside you? How would it feel if you really felt this? If you really felt that whatever it is – was absolutely perfect for you? If you really felt that you didn’t want to change anything at all? Take a leap in your imagination and try and see what happens!
How does it feel?
Give yourself a chance to really feel what it feels like to want precisely what you have at this moment.
And then let it sink in.
It feels like instant peace, doesn’t it!
Tim and Barbara