It seems in our world we're taught to believe that we can never just be happy. From very little on and then into our adulthood we're shown advertisements of toys that will make us have all the fun, tools that will make our lives easier, clothes that will make us feel more beautiful, lotions and make-up that will take years off of our faces, and cars that will make us the envy of our neighbors. No matter what you have, there is always something out there that's better and through the constant connected world, you're reminded that what you have isn't enough. You need something else; then- and only then- will you be happy.
This feeling of need and greed comes early. Perhaps it's built within us, part of an evolutionary characteristic to make sure that our species can continue to evolve and grow in the natural world. But in a world where we have everything available at our fingertips, this need to have more takes us down a never-ending cycle of unhappiness and consumerism. It ends up leaving us with a life unfulfilled and longing for something else.
So how do we end the cycle when we are literally constantly surrounded by people, friends, influencers, social media, advertisers, and stores telling us what we need? Well, this is a question I still deal with, friends. Yes, in a lot of ways, I've minimized my belongings and simplified my wants and needs in this life. Yet, there are still things I find myself longing for. If only my garden was weeded, then I'd be happy. If only my children would listen to me, then I wouldn't be yelling so much. If only it rained more often, then our garden would be overflowing.
It's not true. I know that. If my garden was weeded, I'd have other problems- like a lack of relationship with my family because I'd be in the garden every night, all night. If my children listened to me the first time, yes, things would be easier. But the reason they don't listen right away is often because their imaginations have taken them into another realm of the world, and it takes a minute to pull them back. To have perfectly obedient children who can turn off their imagination at the snap of my fingers isn't what I want either. If it rained more often, we'd have less time outside enjoying the fresh berries and wonderful sunshine.
My point is, no matter what we think will bring us the ultimate happiness, nothing on this earth actually will. It's not our home and place of permanence. Because of this, it's impossible to be completely, utterly, 100% satisfied here with everything and everyone. It is, however, possible to be content. To recognize that there are other things that could make life easier or better, but they're not a necessity. Learning to be content can take some effort and work; it's a total mindset and lifestyle change. It's something that I still constantly work on, and occasionally lose track of. When I find myself lost in greed and want, these steps can help put me back on the right road.
Make a Pros and Cons List
Oftentimes when we want something we think about the good things that will come from it without looking at the negatives that might come along with it too. Consider how long you'd have to work and be away with your family to pay for it. Is it worth it? What negative things might happen as a consequence of this new item? Will it take away from family time? Will you need to work more? Will you have this item for a long time or will it only last a year? Is it worth that? Evaluating the purchase from all angles is important.
Who and What You Surround Yourself With Matters
If you're choosing to surround yourself with people who are always buying the next best thing, chances are, you'll find yourself wanting the same. If you are following people on Instagram who seem to have the perfect life because of (insert item here), then you may find yourself yearning for it too. When you find yourself envying or filled with a want for something because someone else you know has it and it makes them happy, take a minute to step back and away from it for a while. Step away from social media. Take a short break from the person. See if it's still something worth the purchase after you've been away from the source of the need.
Can You Buy it Used?
If, after evaluating it, you decide you do really need something, look for ways to buy it used. You can find some really wonderful, like new things that other people bought on impulse and buy it at a much lower price. You might not be able to get it right away, but once you do, it will be worth the wait and savings back in your pocket.
Is there another way you can get the job done of the thing you need without purchasing something new? Be innovative and creative. Imagine you can't go to the store and buy something....what would you do? How could you still get the job done without the said object? You might be surprised at how creative you are at coming up with solutions.
I hope this can bring you peace and end some of the restlessness you might have been experiencing if you are someone who has a hard tie with this. In our world, it's easy to be overcome with the feelings of envy and a desire for more...but we don't have to stay in that place or live there. Learning to take back your life can be extremely powerful.
Blessings to you,
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