In fact, if you don’t want this, all the other goals on your list will be worthless as soon as you achieve them.
What’s the most important thing?
What you’ve got.
I can feel your disappointment.
It’s such a bummer to be told to be grateful for what you already have. Why?
Because it is the key to daily contentment.
That wasn’t a typo.
As soon as we get the next shiny object, it quickly loses its luster and we feel compelled to seek something else. All the while, we rarely have more than a temporary sense of fulfillment before returning to a state of chronic emotional deprivation.
Living in a state of emotional deprivation is so attractive to us, in fact, that we have created myths that keep us locked into it. Here are just a few of them:
If you are content with what you have, you will lose your motivation in life.
You are not successful if you don’t have the latest and greatest gadgets and toys.
If you take the scenic route or take time to smell the roses in life, you are a flake.
When you achieve your goals, you will be happy.
These are all myths. Lies we have been told – and choose to believe – because we have a strange attachment to living the emotionally deprived life. Each of the above myths – and others – keep you invested in the grind, the never-ending, non-fulfilling pursuit of “more.”
This is a serious problem. In fact, one of the greatest writers on contentment today, Leo Babauta of ZenHabits, has defined a lack of contentment as the root cause of a host of personal and societal ills.
Leo explains that discontentment in life leads to addictions, debt, disorganization, anger, jealousy, social anxiety, and more…By the way, Leo has written a book called The Little Book of Contentment that you can get for free. I highly recommend it.
So, here we are – addicted to deprivation and discontent, having set up a complex psychological trap for ourselves to keep us living in lack.
There are two elements to healing: 1) addressing the attachment and 2) using tools to invite contentment.
Both of these elements are simple to work with. To address the attachment to deprivation, I ask my coaching clients, once they recognize the pattern of deprivation in their life, to simply be aware of it every day.
Notice how you tend to keep fulfillment at arm’s length by virtue of the daily decisions you make.
People are blown away, time and time again, at how they routinely bypass opportunities – even taking steps to ruin opportunities for happiness and fulfillment on an hourly basis.
One woman told me she counted five ways she had deprived herself of fulfillment before 8:30 A.M.
In reality, contentment is available in every moment. We tend to bypass it continually. Stop it.
Once you are seeing your pattern, it becomes possible to reverse it (as long as you remain unaware, you cannot do anything about it).
Next, consciously invite contentment by noticing what you have in your life that you are SO GLAD you have.
Gratitude exercises often fail because we don’t recognize the deeper attachment to deprivation and end up sabotaging our efforts. We make a gratitude list, feel great, then never do it again.
Whew! That was close…! I almost ended up feeling good every single day.
I shouldn’t make fun of it, but I have the same tendencies as anyone and am letting go of my negative attachments as I discover them, too. So, I invite you to discover how you deprive yourself of the fulfillment that awaits you in every moment, and without needing to add anything “more” to your life.