It’s easy to fall into the mind trap of feeling like you never have enough or that you’re not enough.
The thoughts of “I wish I had more money”, “I wish I was skinnier”, “I wish I was smarter”, or even “I’m not good enough to deserve _______”.
It’s as if a scarcity mindset has been wired into our society, into our minds, into our lives. I don’t know about you, but I definitely can say I have said these thoughts to myself at one point or another.
“Look at everything I don’t have!” I sometimes find myself questioning to myself day after day like a broken record, especially when I was at my lowest point.
Yet if there’s one thing that this apparent lack has taught me over and over again throughout time, it is simply this: Whether I recognize it or not, “enough” is already right here, right where it should be.
I don’t have to make more money or achieve more or get more of what I think I need in order to experience “enough.” I don’t have to go looking to external sources of validation or approval in order to find it, and I certainly don’t have to go looking for it, whether it be now or in the future.
There’s no need to look, it’s right here in front of me. What makes a fulfilling life is the relationships we build with the people around us, not how much money or fame we have. A 75-year study conducted by Harvard researchers studying happiness found these found lessons:
- It’s About More than Money and Power The Grant Study’s findings echoed those of other studies — that acquiring more money and power doesn’t correlate to greater happiness. That’s not to say money or traditional career success don’t matter. But they’re small parts of a much larger picture — and while they may loom large for us in the moment, they diminish in importance when viewed in the context of a full life.
- Regardless of How We Begin Life, We Can All Become Happier
A man named Godfrey Minot Camille went into the Grant study with fairly bleak prospects for life satisfaction: He had the lowest rating for future stability of all the subjects and he had previously attempted suicide. But at the end of his life, he was one of the happiest. Why? As Vaillant explains, “He spent his life searching for love.”
- Connection Is Crucial
“Joy is connection,” Vaillant says. “The more areas in your life you can make connection, the better.”
The study found strong relationships to be far and away the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. And in terms of career satisfaction, too, feeling connected to one’s work was far more important than making money or achieving traditional success.
- Challenges –- and the Perspective They Give You — Can Make You Happier
The journey from immaturity to maturity, says Vaillant, is a sort of movement from narcissism to connection, and a big part of this shift has to do with the way we deal with challenges.
Coping mechanisms — “the capacity to make gold out of shit,” as Vaillant puts it — have a significant effect on social support and overall well-being. The secret is replacing narcissism, a single-minded focus on one’s own emotional oscillations and perceived problems, with mature coping defenses, Vaillant explains, citing Mother Teresa and Beethoven as examples.
“Mother Teresa had a perfectly terrible childhood, and her inner spiritual life was very painful,” says Vaillant. “But she had a highly successful life by caring about other people.
Creative expression is another way to productively deal with challenges and achieve meaning and well-being
When I look closely enough, I come to realize the fullness of my love can come in the smallest of forms: The love in my dog’s tail-wag as she greets me as I come home, even if it was just to pop outside to grab something. Hugging my family or my boyfriend when I come home from a long trip overseas. That $5 bill in my pocket that I left to use at a later time. The softness and texture of my sheets as I tuck in for the night. The warming, flickering rays of the sunshine as the shine upon me in the summer and the soup simmering on the stove in the middle of winter.
I already have everything I need. I have all the love, happiness, and money one could ever need to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.
It is in these moments that my heart swells with gratitude for what is here now: for the smallest sights, sounds, tastes and touches that bring flashes of joy into my being, as if I’d somehow never noticed how ridiculously awesome life has always been…
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/11/how-this-harvard-psycholo_n_3727229.html
I don’t understand why people feel the need to judge others, whether its based off of wealth, beauty, appearance, or intelligence.
First of all who cares. Let people live their life. If you don’t have something positive to say about someone then you shouldn’t have to say it at all or if you don’t mean something don’t bother to say it.
It’s scary to realize how many people fail to realize that words hurt. What we say and do to others matter. Just because you can’t see how someone ‘reacts’ to what you said doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt them. Building people up starts young. We should work together to build upon people’s strengths and self-esteem. It would go a long way to promoting good mental health.
In truth though, beauty comes from within. You can buy beauty, but you can’t buy class or personality.
Everyone has something to offer to the world. Acceptance and making people feel accepted goes a long way in making the world around us a better place.