This post is all about how to be happy with what you have.
How To Be Happy With What You Have
When the topic of being happy with what one has is being discussed the majority of the time what’s only being addressed is material stuff, our finances, houses, and belongings. Yet we all know that that’s merely a small piece of what makes a happy life. I understand the question of how to be happy with what you have as how to be happy with the money you have, the love you have, the friends you have, the job position you have, the car you drive, the skin and hair you have, the ideas you have, etc. And so the tips in this post on how to be happy with what you have are applicable to all areas of your life, not just finances.
What is happiness?
Wikipedia states that “the term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
Contentment is precisely what we’re talking about when asking the question of how to be happy (content) with what you have.
It’s not necessarily about feeling intense joy, it’s more about acceptance and having positive rather than negative emotions regarding one’s life.
True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. – Charles Spurgeon
Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature. – Dennis Prager
What happiness is not
Happiness is not what you own, what you earn, how you look, who you date, where you’ve been, what car you drive, how long your hair is, or how straight your teeth are. Heck, you can smile without having any teeth at all!
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.- Denis Waitley
How to be happy with what you have
#1 Recognize that you’re privileged
If you have the means, the time, the health to read online about steps to more happiness, you have to agree, you’re quite privileged.
I’m not saying you don’t have problems, difficulties, and struggles. I’m not minimizing your pain. I’m not saying you’ve got all you deserve already.
What I am saying is that there are people out there whose lives are at stake daily, who don’t have enough to eat, don’t have a roof over their heads, or shoes on their feet.
I read something recently that really stuck with me. I don’t remember the exact wording, however, the point was that the generation before us (whether it’s our parents or grandparents) was one of survival. So how lucky and how privileged are we to be a generation that has the luxury to look for meaning, purpose, ways to fulfill our deepest dreams.
The reason this seemingly simple and obvious statement stuck with me is that on social media this part of our journey where we might feel a little lost, where we are looking for a purpose or a dream job or a dream place to live is portrayed as “a lack”.
You haven’t found your dream job yet? Oh no, we need to fix that as soon as possible. With that comes a feeling of shame, jealousy, not being enough, pressure.
How much more empowering and rational would it be to acknowledge our privilege to even be able to entertain the idea of a bigger, better life. What a luxury it is that we can keep changing our minds, keep educating ourselves, and keep traveling to new places. What a luxury it is that the hope and the dream, the vision of our future fulfilled, successful, healthy, wealthy self is such a normal part of our life.
#2 Serve those less fortunate than you
A great way to take the focus of yourself for a moment and see the bigger picture is by serving others, especially those less fortunate than you. Whether it is donating your time, your money, or taking a moment to educate yourself on certain causes will definitely open up your eyes and it can be quite humbling.
Besides that the main great thing about it, which is actually helping others it can also help you. Your problems, your complaints will feel way more manageable now or won’t even feel like problems at all anymore, but rather like opportunities.
#3 Be grateful
Gratitude goes a long way. Be grateful for all the good that you do have in your life and all the bad that you don’t have.
Sometimes in life, we’re running after the next thing, the next success without stopping and taking a look around. Being present and appreciating that damn, even if we stop running right now, even if we won’t get any further we’re pretty damn lucky. Once you stop to see what you can be grateful for in life you’ll discover that the list of your blessings is way longer than you might have thought it was. Focus on that.
#4 Give yourself more credit
The feeling of not being happy with what you have in life is connected to not feeling happy with what you are in life. Minimizing your achievements, your ideas, your talent, not feeling good enough doesn’t serve anybody. As important as it is to pause and be grateful for what life has to offer, it’s also vital to give yourself more credit. To take the time after accomplishing something to celebrate, to be proud of yourself, before tackling the next problem, crisis, project, or dream.
You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star. – Friedrich Nietzsche
#5 Stop comparing yourself
Comparing yourself to someone who has less than you to recognize your privilege and fortune can be a good tool. Comparing yourself to someone who has achieved what you want to achieve can be a good tool to some extent too if it fuels you in a positive way.
But let’s face it most of us compare ourselves to others who seem to have more, be more successful merely as a confirmation that we do not have enough.
You need to stop comparing yourself, period.
Comparison only leads to envy and anxiety. It will undermine your confidence and can prevent you from taking action towards realizing your dreams as you will think your progress isn’t as fast or as significant as someone else’s seems to be.
Comparison is an act of violence against the self. – Iyanla Vanzant
Comparison is a thug that robs your joy. But it’s even more than that – Comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody – or your soul. – Ann Voskamp
“Comparison is the death of joy.” – Mark Twain
“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.”- Shannon L. Alder
#6 Don’t buy into social media trends
If you plan to follow every trend, buy every must-have that is pushed on social media, you will never have enough and therefore have no chance of ever being happy with what you do have.
You don’t even have to follow the newest gadget and beauty treatment trends and whatnot to end up thinking you need them. There is so much that happens subconsciously. Our brains save images that later on make us more likely to purchase a certain product or service.
We see this world, other people’s lives full of those different things, busy lives full of projects and travels and we start to believe that a) this is actually real life and b) that this is how our lives should look as well.
It’s when you take a break from social media every now and then that you realize you absolutely do not need a bunch of that stuff. You won’t miss that daily input of trends because you will see how great and smooth your life runs already the way it is now. A lot of our “needs” stem from other people telling us we need this or that, not from an actual need of ours. So the moment we shut those voices off, we’ll feel less “lack” in our lives for sure.
The way we feel impacts the way we view the world. When we’re hungry and tired, we’re more grumpy and self-critical and well, everything sucks. So before you make an assessment of your life situation make sure all your basic needs are met. In this case, of course, we’re talking about you being able (having the means) to do so. Get a good night’s sleep, nourish your body with whole foods, drink a bunch of water, go for a walk and then ask yourself the questions of whether you’re happy with what you have or not.
#8 Know that this too shall pass
You know that nothing in life ever stays the same. We go through different seasons. We face struggles, we have victories. There are ups and there are downs. If you’re not living your best life now, first of all, see what you can do about that, but then just let it be, let life do its thing, there is a better tomorrow waiting for you!
Life is not linear; you have ups and downs. It’s how you deal with the troughs that defines you. – Michael Lee-Chin
#9 Put people first, not things
Focus on, foster, and cherish relationships in your life. No matter what you see, have, achieve, it will never mean as much as a true friendship or partnership. Besides, it’s so much better when you can share your victories with someone else.
It’s Time To Be More Content
And A Bit More Grateful!
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