A father told me about his ten-year-old son who has a friend from a wealthy family. A very wealthy family. Like 25,000 sq.ft. house kind of wealthy. The son came home one day and asked his dad, “Why don’t we have a house like Jimmy’s?” Now, the parents of this ten-year-old are financially well off themselves so the father replied, “You know son, some people might think we live in a pretty nice house” to which the son retorted, “Oh, Dad, no one would ever think that!”
I laugh at this, but admittedly I know how easy it is to see lack instead of abundance. And I know how that paradigm derails us from what we want.
Our environment primes us to be dissatisfied. And to think we can completely remove ourselves from its influence…let’s just say I saw an episode of “House Hunters Off the Grid” and it’s not my speed (and probably not yours, either!).
If we want to counter the dissatisfaction our culture breeds, we need awareness and gratitude. But the point isn’t to fight the environment, rather to cultivate one that allows us to thrive. Here are three things you can expect from experiencing genuine thankfulness (oh, yes, there are more):
- Clarity: Have you ever pursued something and discovered it didn’t make you that happy? Like when you buy something you “had to have” but the next week you can’t remember why? Or when you start a diet because your friend got you excited to lose weight with her, but discovered you were miserable? Start using a critical eye to assess the messages around you about what you should do, weigh and “be.” When you truly appreciate what “is,” you can know what you really want, why you want it, and set out to pursue it.
- Better health: Grateful people are shown to live longer, visit the doctor less, have lower blood pressure, sleep better and report less stress. Hello?! If there was a pill that could do all that, without nausea, diarrhea, bloating, thoughts of suicide, decreased libido…we’d all be lining up for it.
- Peace: When I have the presence of mind to look at advertisements, especially for stuff that I like, and then think about how much I enjoy what I already have, my underlying dissatisfaction dissipates. That’s much different from deprivation, which brings anxiety. Gratitude leads to peace.
Are your health and weight a challenge for you? I believe that if you don’t like and appreciate your body then you’ll have a hard time taking care of it. Before you attempt changes, decide what’s good about your body today. What do you appreciate about it this moment? Bring it to the forefront and revel in what “is.” Gratitude will set the stage for the changes you want to make.