WE’RE RICHER THAN YOU THINK
We are constantly seeing what everyone else has that we don’t. Their life, possessions, home, or career seem so appealing and ours feel worthless by comparison. We are aware of so much that we don’t have.
But we are actually richer than we think. We simply don’t know how to look at the wealth we have. The standard habit of the mind is to take careful note of what’s not right in our lives and obsess about all that is missing.
But in a new mood, perhaps after a lot of longing and turmoil, we can pause and notice some of what has remarkably not gone wrong.
The house is looking beautiful at the moment. Our families are healthy. We have a significant group of friends. And we should be grateful for what we do have instead of always looking at what we don’t have.
It’s time to appreciate the wealth we already have instead of coveting what others have. Only then will we truly be rich.
We often find ourselves dwelling on the negative aspects of our lives. We focus on what’s not going right and obsess over all that is missing.
However, if we can pause and take stock of all that has remarkably not gone wrong, we may find ourselves in a much better mood. Perhaps the house is looking beautiful at the moment or we’re in pretty good health, all things considered.
Maybe the afternoon sun is deeply reassuring, or sometimes the children are kind. Your partner is at points very generous. It’s been quite mild lately. Yesterday we were happy all evening.
Whatever the case may be, focusing on the positive aspects of our lives can help us to feel more content and grateful.
So next time you find yourself feeling down, take a moment to appreciate all that has not gone wrong. It might surprise you how much there is to be thankful for.
THE ART OF GRATITUDE
As one gets older, it is increasingly rare to find someone who does not appreciate the simple things in life. Whether it is a cup of tea, a quiet evening at home, or a walk in the woods, there are so many things to enjoy.
However, it is rare to find someone who properly delights in these things when they are under twenty-two. There are simply too many other things to worry about at that age, such as romantic love, career fulfillment, and political change.
But as time goes on, it is increasingly common to find people who are left entirely indifferent by these larger concerns and can instead take pleasure in the smaller things.
After all, it is the simple things that make life worth living.
It’s often said that life is a journey, not a destination. This is especially true when it comes to our aspirations. We start out with grand ambitions, but slowly and surely, reality sets in and we’re forced to adjust our expectations.
We learn about the intractable problems of intimate relationships, the gap between our professional hopes and the available realities, and how slowly and fitfully the world ever alters in a positive direction. In short, we’re fully inducted into the human experience, warts and all.
But while this may sound depressing at first glance, it’s actually quite freeing. Once we accept that life is full of hardships and setbacks, we can stop beating ourselves up for not reaching our idealized notions of success.
Instead, we can focus on enjoying the journey, even when it’s tough going.
YOU ARE ENVIED
Envy is an interesting emotion. It’s one of those things that’s both intensely gratifying and a little embarrassing. On the one hand, it feels good to know that someone else wants what you have. But on the other hand, it’s a little like having someone tell you they hate your new haircut. You can’t help but wonder what it is about you that inspired such powerful feelings.
Of course, envy is also a very complicated emotion. It’s not simply a matter of wanting what someone else has. There’s also an element of resentment involved. When you envy someone, you can’t help but lie awake at night and wonder why they have certain things that you don’t. It’s a frustrating feeling, to say the least.
But at the end of the day, envy is just another emotion. It’s something that we all feel from time to time. And while it might not be pleasant, it’s certainly not the worst thing in the world. So if you find yourself feeling envious of someone else, try to remember that there’s no shame in it. We all want what we can’t have sometimes.
Rather than simply lament the tragic madness of a world in which everyone envies someone else, we can see a comical side to the universal nature of envy.
As the saying goes, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” It’s a truism that applies to just about every aspect of life, from our careers to our relationships to our personal appearance.
And yet, for all its universality, envy is something we rarely talk about. Perhaps it’s because admitting that we’re envious of others makes us feel petty and small. Or maybe we simply don’t like to think of ourselves as the sort of people who would be driven by such an unpleasant emotion.
Whatever the reason, envy is something that most of us keep hidden away. But rather than simply lament the tragic madness of a world in which everyone envies someone else, perhaps we can see a comical side to the universal nature of envy.
After all, despair tortured even the great Michelangelo because he could always see in his mind an idea he could not achieve in reality.
So let’s take comfort because even the ablest among us is not immune to envy. And next time we find ourselves feeling jealous of someone else, let’s try to remember that, for brief moments at least, we should count our blessings and cease noticing what is wrong.