Discontent. Three Ways to Lock it Out.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu
I was nearly robbed today. It’s Thanksgiving week no less and a thief tried to sneak in my back door. He nearly managed to pull it off but I recognized him right away. It was that old varmint Discontent and he almost got away with stealing my joy. I wrestled with him and for a bit, it seemed he might win but I’m happy to say I sent him running.
Does Discontent ever threaten to snake his way into your life? He’s a crafty, wicked old thing. He can slip right by and knock you flat even when Gratitude is guarding the door. Of all times, even in this season of Thanksgiving! Just as we’re counting our blessings and grateful for all we have, Discontent shows up, uninvited and hisses “it isn’t enough.”
Discontent knows which door is unlocked
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” ~ Socrates
How does Discontent manage to find his way in? Like all thieves, he has accomplices. One of the sneakiest is his sidekick FOMO. No one knows his real name but he makes sure there are plenty of glossy magazines and billboards and TV commercials everywhere we look. He wants to make sure we don’t believe we’ll ever measure up against what we see.
How? He makes sure there are lots and lots of tempting images. Homes much fancier than ours and cars lots snazzier than what we drive. Hey look! All the people in the pictures are younger, skinnier and better looking than we are. And oh boy are they ever having fun! But wait, we’re not in any of the pictures! We’re missing out! And Discontent has his foot in the door.
The really evil partner is Comparison. He knows no matter how much we have there’ll always be someone with more. But, if he can make us believe we can have it all and be king of the hill, he’s in!! Once FOMO and Comparison have us fooled, they know we’re an easy mark. Discontent is never satisfied until we’re not. What’s more insidious, he understands if we’re not thankful for what we have right now, we’ll never, ever be content.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
Three ways to lock out Discontent
Compare down instead of up. That may sound a little odd and it’s certainly not what Facebook or Pinterest would suggest we do. However, it’s a good idea to consider our standard of living as it compares with 90% of the rest of the planet. Try this on for a reality check. Go to http://www.worldwealthcalculator.org/ and take a look at how you actually stack up in terms of income. Hint: There are 6.2 billion (yes with a B) people less wealthy than you right now in the world.
Remove or limit your personal “Contentment Robbers.” You know the places that make you want everything. For me, it’s the one with a cute white dog sporting a red bullseye to match the logo. There, I admitted it! When I walk in the door, I want it all! It’s a great place! However, it pushes all my crazy Iwanna buttons and can make me feel like I have all the wrong stuff! For you, it might be one less episode of HGTV or a few less hours on Pinterest or Houz or ______ (fill in your contentment robber.)
Be mindful of the riches that money cannot buy!
They truly are what matter most. The things that are remembered and cherished the longest are not for sale anywhere. Warm friendships, the intimate moments of a strong marriage or good health cannot be bought in any store. A good reputation and excellent character are not available for purchase at any price. It is impossible to put a dollar value on loving relationships between parent and child, grandparents and grandchildren or among siblings.
What matters most is not for sale
It’s important to remember we always have the power to choose. We can literally make up our mind to be content with what we have and under any circumstances. It’s essential to know and understand that stuff is just that. Stuff. It can never satisfy our hunger for meaning or fulfillment. We must learn to focus more on the internal and especially the eternal that we do on the external! That’s why it’s so important to see life with new eyes!
No post on Thanksgiving Day! See you Friday!