Are you trapped in the treadmill of always striving for more? More love, more money, more clothes, better car, nicer house, nicer furniture, more recognition, more appreciation, more validation? More respect? Not that you shouldn’t strive for being the best and having the best, mind you, but have you noticed what such striving does to you? If you’re not careful, you’ll be trapped in the more-better-best treadmill that much of our culture is caught in—and that has led to a whole lot of unhappy, unfulfilled, envious and angry people—who have very little inner peace or contentment.
If you’re like most of us, you have an immense capacity of taking things for granted—you tend to focus on what you need to do next, what challenges you must focus on now, how you haven’t measured up to your own goals. So you are focus on the problems and you wind up ignoring what is satisfying and wonderful about your life. As a result, you feel scarcity instead of abundance.
Your task in very simple: to quit focusing on what is bad about your life and to start looking at what is good.
Try this exercise right now. Close your eyes and look at all the different ways you feel abundant in your life. Not where there’s lack or disappointment, but where there’s true abundance. Include everything: your house, intimate relationship, family, friendships, work, all the different experiences you’ve had, personality traits, qualities you possess, your taste, style and image, your skills and talents, the different blessings life has offered you, the peak experiences that have added meaning to your life, when you have done your best.
If you do the above exercise, you’ll find such things to be grateful for and appreciative of, and you’ll begin to feel more abundant about your life.
If you’re like most us, you focus on what you don’t have, how you’re disappointed, how you want more. This attitude keeps us in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction with ourselves, our lives and the people around us. A little bit of that is fine: it can motivate us to do our best. A lot of that, and we become unhappy, ungrateful, miserable people. We’re always relating from our scarcity, rather than from our abundance.
Here are other exercises to try if you want to live more in the spirit of abundance, courtesy of Susan Jeffers in the book Embracing Uncertainty ( St. Martin’s Griffin):
- Make a list of all the people in this world who have contributed to your life in some way. Then go out and thank them—every one of them if you can.
- Understand the wisdom of “enough.” Do you still at “enough” food? “Enough” shopping? “Enough” T.V.? “Enough” alcohol? “Enough” work? “Enough” activity and running around? What would happen if you set limits on yourself and on your family and decided you were going to be content with “enough.”
- Let’s say, symbolically, I give you 50 roses. Who are you going to give those roses to? When you figure that out, give them away in the form of loving actions toward people. Keep a list of the things you do for others until you reach the number 50. I’ll then give you another 50 roses.
Try one thing more. Make a list of every person and every experience you are grateful for or appreciative of. Whatever you’re disappointed about, whatever is going wrong, whatever misfortune befalls you—know that your life is still loaded with abundant richness, prosperity and blessings.