Are you constantly thinking about all the things you don’t have? Do you wish your life away? Do you see your friends or neighbors nice, new beautiful house, car, boat or motorhome and wish that you had one too? I have this problem – and I think a lot of other people do too (except my husband).
Are you like a child that has a beautiful, new shiny bike, it’s your favorite color, it has 10 gears and it’s so easy to ride. You love this bike. You ride it everywhere. As far as you know, this is the best bike ever made. Then you see your friend riding a new shiny bike. Your friend’s bike is your favorite color, has 21 gears, shock absorbers plus a bell and a basket – all the bells and whistles. All of a sudden your bike isn’t good enough. You need the same bike your friend has. You have to have one just like it. Before you knew about the other bike, you were just fine and happy and grateful.
When you were a little older maybe, for example, you had a Nintendo and you loved the games and it was wonderful, but then the manufacturers (which they do intentionally) come out with the X-box and all of a sudden your Nintendo wasn’t good enough, you had to get an X-box, then when they came out with the new Wii, you had to have one of those.
Remember when maybe you had a flip phone but then they came out with an Android and you thought it was so wonderful, you had to have one of those, then you had to have an iPhone?
It is really hard to not “need” what everyone else has. The questions you need to ask yourself are, do you really “need” do all of these “things”? Do all of these “things” really make you happy? Am I making myself depressed because I can’t “keep up with the Smiths”?
To make a long story short, be grateful for what you have! Sure, being grateful sounds so great – but how do you actually “be grateful”? How do you get out of this mode of thinking?
Here are some things I do to stop wishing my life away. Try some of them and let me know what you try and how it works out. I think you’ll be glad you did.
- Quit working so much to pay for all the things you want but don’t need. You’ll enjoy your free time more than all those “things” you think you need.
- Literally, count your blessings, name them one by one. Get a piece of paper and write down the many blessings you have and go back and read it often.
- Think about people that have less than you, especially those in third world countries.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others who have more than you. Your circumstances are different. It really doesn’t matter what other people have.
- Avoid advertising: This is BIG, sure, there is a certain amount of advertising you can’t avoid. But don’t do things like “hang out” at the mall where you will see that outfit that you just have to have, but can’t afford. Don’t just browse the aisles looking for stuff. If you don’t have a house, money to decorate, etc. don’t watch home decorating shows or house hunting shows on television, where you see all the awesome houses out there that you can’t afford and don’t really need.
- Quit spending so much time on Facebook and social media looking at a small snapshot of someone else’s life, thinking how their life is so much better than yours.
- Stay home, turn off the TV and your electronics and live. Live in the moment. You don’t have to go somewhere to have fun. Dance in your house, make some delicious food, work in your garden or TALK to your family.
- Spend quality time with your family. Actually play with your children, nieces, brothers and sisters, etc.
- Play games at home or at the park.
- Learn to appreciate what you do have by cleaning and organizing your house. It will help you “see” what you have.
- Have Parties – Even if you have a small, cramped apartment. Have a party. Quit making excuses. Figure it out. Having a party will force you to clean your house really well, maybe organize and decorate it a little and it doesn’t have to cost much money or take much effort.
- Do Fun Things – get out of the house sometimes and do things that don’t necessarily cost money. Most cities have tons of things to do for free and if you do some research you can find them. If you have the money for it, do fun things that cost money, like go to the movies, concerts, bowling, golfing, etc.
- Get Outside – go to the park, go running, sit on your front porch, plant a garden, go camping, go hiking and at the same time get some vitamin D.
- Exercise – it helps clear your head and helps you focus on what’s really important in life. Go for a walk with a family member and talk about life.
- Service – this one is huge. Helping other people will help you forget about yourself and it will help you get perspective.
- Visit people – remember what people used to do before TV came along? They visited family and friends. I’ve found that an awesome way to not be jealous of someone, is to get to know them. From the outside, their life may look perfect but when you get to know them, you will find out all sorts of things that aren’t perfect about their life. Visit an “older” person. The elderly have such perspective on life and generally have more gratitude than young people.
- Celebrate holidays and special occasions
- Write a list of all the things you are grateful for – or better yet – start a gratitude journal
- Create a Vision Board
- When you set goals, make sure and set smaller short-term goals so you have something more immediate to focus on – something that’s more attainable
- Each dinner with your family
- Think of all the things you have accomplished, not all the things that are on your bucket list.
- Think of all the things you do have, not all the things you don’t have.
- Pray and go to church and remember what your purpose in life is. Remember that you can’t take “stuff” with you when you die. Instead, focus on the things you can take with you – like relationships, memories and the things you have learned in this life.
- Express gratitude to those around you. You will have to think about what you have before you can express gratitude for it.
- Go to church. Pretty much all religions that I know of remind you to be grateful, serve, not covet, etc
- Write gratitude notes to those in your life who have helped you.
- Teach your children to be grateful.
- Enjoy each season in your life to the fullest so you don’t feel like your life is passing you by
- Get some quotes, print them out, put them on your fridge or some prominent place in your home, then read them and think about them often.
Let me know if you would like any of these quotes in a PDF. I could easily make them in PDF format, but I don’t want to bother if no one would use them.