The Secret of Happiness

30 Days of Gratitude- Day 1
Image by aussiegall via Flickr

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have” ~Socrates

This little gem cropped up in a guest post on Zen Habits (one of my favourite blogs) and it hit me fairly and squarely between the eyes.

In the struggle to balance the outer things like home/work and social lives, are we forgetting to balance the inner world?  How much time is spent in gratitude and appreciation, compared to time spent wanting new and better things.

and what are we missing out on because of it?

Don’t get me wrong – There’s absolutely nothing wrong with striving: progress is built that way.  But maybe the dissatisfaction we all seem to be feeling comes from being too far out of balance, and feeling that particular see-saw shifting under us.

Appreciation and gratitude are powerful forces.  I’ve seen how critical they are to the Law of Attraction.  They’re also pretty amazing in how they can make you instantly feel good about yourself and your life – and that’s a powerful place to be!

From a point of contentment, you’re less likely to rush into the latest trends or products, because dissatisfaction is one of the main triggers that marketers use to buy.  You’ll take the time to evaluate what’s right for you, and will add value to your life, instead of acting out of fear of missing out, or whatever other buttons the sales pitch tries to push.

From a point of appreciation, you’ll have a smile on your face that will make others feel good to be around you – and you’re more likely to give them reasons to smile too in expressing what difference they make to your life.  Who doesn’t want to hear that?

From a position of gratitude, you feel the wealth you already do have, instead of the lack of things you want.  What you focus on is what you get – so you’re likely to get more wealth and good things flowing to you when you hold this perspective than any other.

and finally, let’s face it, it feels GOOD.

One more quote which I’ve loved for years now:

“Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is liking what you get.” (H Jackson Brown)

In other words, by focusing on what you have and being grateful – you can finally attain happiness!

Today, I intend to focus on appreciating just how good I have it.

  • I can turn on a tap and get fresh, drinkable water.  The girl I sponsor over in Ethiopia would be stunned at such luxury.
  • I have my own little place to live, and after my mad rush at the start of the year, have a study I can relax and work comfortably in.  No boxes, piles of paper or clutter anymore.  In fact the zen look is spreading to other parts of the house…  and I love it!
  • I live in a beautiful suburb with mountain and ocean views, fresh air and friendly people.  It doesn’t get much better.
  • The bank’s not charging me as much for it as they did a year ago.  In fact my interest rate now is less than it was when I got the mortgage 3 years back…
  • I have a decent paying job that allows me to fund my ‘hobby’ of writing online.  More importantly, it’s one where I’m appreciated, and where I’m working with a great bunch of people.  I know in these tough times many people don’t have that security.  Even if I do dream of walking away from it one day, I’m grateful that it gives me the time to build up to that instead of forcing me to jump.
  • I’m surrounded by an amazing network of fantastic people online.  I only need to turn on my computer and I can read wisdom from all over the world, get support and tips in how to accomplish just about anything, socialise with like minded people and generally have incredible fun!  (I LOVE the internet. Can you tell?)
  • I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic close relationship with my sister, brother-in-law and their two adorable kids – who keep me in stitches with their exploits!  Children are such a joy.
  • My bf is definitely worth being grateful for.  He’s got a heart of gold.  (Don’t tell him I said that.  He’d hate me to spoil his ‘macho’ image…)
  • The circle of my close friends is growing, and full of fantastic, inspiring and truly unique people.
  • I can see.  After a close call a few years back, losing 3/4 of the sight in one eye, I appreciate that gift like I never did before.
  • I’m healthy.  My body works well, does what I ask of it, and takes care of the basic stuff that keeps me going.

There are probably hundreds of other things that aren’t coming to mind – help me out here?  What’s the most important thing you appreciate about your life?

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