How many of us gripe and complain about the minor inconveniences when our lives are already rich and full? After a project wraps, do you move on to the next item on your agenda without taking time to savor the successful completion of the one you left behind? Do you complain because you didn’t score the best restaurant table by the window, overlooking the fact that you have the means to enjoy a delicious meal with loved ones and awesome friends? Do you bemoan what’s on your to-do list instead of savor how much you’ve accomplished?
Expand Your Abundance
Whatever you focus your mind on expands. When you focus on lack, you operate from a position of loss and discontent and experience more lack. You focus on what’s missing from your life—that supervisor position, perfect main squeeze, or top salesperson—and fool yourself into thinking more of something or someone will fill the void. But it doesn’t. When you focus on abundance, you have more of it. Taking time to underscore your completions and successes creates a deeper sense of fulfillment.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama says there are two ways to reach contentment. One is to acquire everything you want and desire: an expensive house, sporty car, fashionable wardrobe, gourmet foods, perfect mate, exotic trips a perfectly toned body. The list is endless. The problem with this approach is that this type of wanting is a bottomless pit and never leads to contentment. Sooner or later there will be something you want but can’t have, no matter how many hours you put in or how hard you work. The second and more reliable approach to contentment is to want and feel grateful for what you already possess. When you have a strong sense of contentment, it doesn’t matter whether you obtain the object of your desire or not. You are content either way.
When you look at the total trajectory of where you were, where you are now and how far you want to go, you see the full spectrum, not just a piece of it. And you’ll notice how much better you feel inside. Contemplate all that you’re thankful for. Most of us already have all the abundance to be happy. As your feet touch the floor each morning, you can be mindful of everything and everyone you encounter that you appreciate. This is especially important for those of us who overly focus on what we haven’t achieved instead of accomplished, no matter how small it seems.
Cop An Attitude Of Gratitude
The best way to reach contentment is to want and feel grateful for what you already have. Studies show that if you express gratitude, it raises your happiness needle by 25 percent. When you take a breath and step back, your heartfelt thankfulness for your blessings slows you down and fills you up. This is a time to count your blessings—all the things you might have overlooked, forgotten or taken for granted—instead of complaining about what you still need. The gratitude exercise helps you see the flip side of the narrow scope that your mind builds without your knowledge. Make a list of the many things you’re grateful for—the people, places and things that make your life rich and full, that bring you comfort and joy. After you’ve made your list, meditate on your appreciation for each item and visualize anything you’ve taken for granted—things or people even pets that if you didn’t have would leave your life empty and meaningless.
As you practice this exercise, notice that you’re more aware of how full your life already is. Seize your blessings, hold them close to your heart and don’t let pettiness and the small stuff distract you from the bigger, more important aspects of your life. Consider diminishing your wants by wanting what you have instead of having what you want and abundance and fulfillment are yours.