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I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them. — John Stuart Mill
Over the past ten days we’ve talked about a lot of qualities we would like to eliminate—or at least minimize—in our lives…..fear, bitterness, comparison, self-centeredness, discord, anxiety, judgment, disappointment, and greed. But if we really stop to think about it, all these traits can probably be rolled into one over-arching theme of discontentment.
A lack of contentment with our life as it is right in this moment, with our current financial situation, possessions, career choices, abilities, friendships, family situations, and anything else we can think to complain about, is often at the root of all other problems. We are often convinced that we are missing out, that if only we had X, life would be better.
If only I could lose that baby weight….
If only my teeth were straighter….
If only my nose wasn’t so big…
If only I had better clothes….
If only I had more money….
If only I could get that that job….
If only I could go back to school….
If only my house were bigger….
If only I had a nicer car….
If only my kids would…
If only my parents hadn’t….
If only I my friends were more….
If only I were more organized….
The path of “if only” is a very slippery slope because even when we do get what we think we want, there will always be something else, just out of reach. It’s certainly not wrong to strive or to want to set goals to make improvements in our life; but the danger comes when we think we can only be happy if and when we find that next best thing. Eliminating discontentment from our lives starts with a daily choice to separate our happiness from our circumstances, to live our lives with an Attitude of Gratitude, and to believe that what we have and who we are is enough.
Be sure to read Edie’s corresponding post, More Gratitude
List one or two areas in your life where you feel the least content. Do you find yourself wishing for something more, or longing for something better than what you already have? How do you think your life would be different if you got what you were longing for? Would you still want something more? Now list five things you are truly grateful for in your life, then share your gratitude list with us in the comments below, or on Facebook!
Finally, be sure to check out Crystal’s inspiring thoughts on Less Greed/More Generosity from yesterday’s post. I was so touched by what she had to say!
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Do you ever struggle with discontentment? What 5 things are you most grateful for?