Do you feel like, no matter how much you gain, it’s never enough to be happy with what you have? Do you find yourself yearning for more and more? Do you feel pressured to be better, act nicer, be fitter, be more thoughtful, and however much you improve, society still expects more?
Even though today’s living standards are higher than ever before, people still fail to find satisfaction in what they have. Because of social expectations or misunderstanding of self-compassion, people are harsher on themselves than ever before. This pressure can cause you to lose track of yourself and your happiness. So, if you feel like you cannot reach joy in your current context, here are some ways in which you can fix that.
What Is Happiness?
Happiness, in the simplest of terms, is described by an experience that makes you feel joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. It is the state of being happy, of going through pleasurable experiences. While the term can have many definitions, it always involves positive emotions and life satisfaction.
Because it is such a broadly defined term, psychologists use “subjective well-being” when referring to this state. This term focuses on an individual’s overall personal feelings about their life in the present.
Many psychologists argue against the misconception that happiness is the result of bouncing one joy to the next. Researchers find that achieving happiness involves times of discomfort or hardships. This stems from the idea that you cannot feel positive emotions without having lived through negative ones. Without knowing pain, good things will not bring you joy. You would be in a state of monotony at all times. So, contrary to popular belief, happiness is not the absence of pain, rather the understanding that life is still worth fighting for.
With this premise in mind, what are how you can be at peace with what you have?
5 Ways To Be Happy With What You Have
Try these tips to be happy with what you have.
1. Stop Having Preconceptions to Be Happy With What You Have
Have you ever wondered why small children always seem to be happy? Whether it’s raining, cold, or if they fell and scraped their knee, they always seem to find something to bring them joy. They can get sad and hurt, but they always bounce back, sometimes maybe even happier than before. It seems pretty peculiar.
At first glance, you might think, “they just don’t understand how hard life is.” But that’s not the whole story. The truth is, they don’t have preconceptions about what happiness should be.
The problem is, as people grow older, they start succumbing to social norms and peer pressure. They start believing that happiness means nice things, a big house, fancy job. And maybe to some, that’s true.
Not having preconceptions about happiness is integral to accepting your life. It means you aren’t conditioning it upon certain things that may or may not happen. If you prepare your well-being upon getting a particular job, chances are you will never be fulfilled. Craving a sure thing creates a lack of the object of your desire.
Happiness is subjective, characterized by what you decide you value. To feel absolute joy, you need to have an attitude shift. Decide to value what you already have rather than what you could have. That way, your happiness will be genuine rather than tied to specific events that might not even happen.
2. Understand The Reasoning Behind Your Actions
Wanting to improve yourself can be a powerful motivator. But it can be a slippery slope. If you aren’t careful, it can turn into unattainable wants that disallow you to enjoy the present. This is why you need to understand why exactly do you want growth? Is it for yourself, or because you think that is what others expect of you?
If you have urges, understand where they come from. Needing new clothes all the time can stem from insecurity, for example. When you know why the cravings exist, you can work on the core issue instead of patching things up by buying new things.
Your wants could be more than urges. They could come from a personal desire rather than the need to mask problems. In that case, they are worth pursuing. Wanting a better job because your current one makes you miserable is entirely legitimate.
Work on being able to differentiate between wanting something for yourself and urges created by societal pressure. Let go of urges and pursue your actual wants. This way, you will be inspired to be better rather than feel bad for working on yourself. You will find that you feel less stressed and overall happier.
3. Break Comparisons to Be Happy With What You Have
Humanity is far better off now than ever before. Most people are far more prosperous than most of the people living a few hundred years ago. There are fewer diseases—more human rights. You are far less likely to die violently. By comparison, you should be thrilled. Then why aren’t you happy with your life? Unfortunately, most people base their satisfaction on comparing themselves with their peers, especially the ones better off.
Even though you are better off than your forefathers, you overlook that. What you do notice are the ones wealthier, healthier, and more attractive than you. Comparison will never let you enjoy your achievements. Whatever you do, there will always be someone who has achieved more.
To be genuinely happy, you have to let go of comparisons. You have to learn to enjoy who you are and what you do without worrying about others.
Comparison is not a measurement of success. You never know where the one you’re comparing yourself with has started from. Maybe someone had more opportunities than you. Perhaps they had more connections. Whatever it is, the comparison doesn’t mean anything because you will never know the full context. Comparison is also discouraging and will make it harder for you to focus on yourself.
To effectively break comparisons, you need to focus on yourself. Build a stable inner world and trust yourself. Learn to be proud of who you are. Find your talents and strengths and focus on them rather than beating yourself up for your weaknesses. Most importantly, have self-compassion.
Try staying away from social media and be careful how you pick your friends. Strive towards having people in your life that will build you up, not tear you down.
4. Embrace Little Things
Things aren’t always great. Sometimes the weather is awful. Sometimes you ruin your morning by spilling your coffee. Sometimes things are worse. You have family issues, job issues, maybe even health issues. Yes, life is complicated, and sometimes it can even feel crushing. But perspective always makes a difference.
If life is already hard, there’s no reason to make it harder. Be present and indulge in the little things. I know it seems like a cliché, but if you make an effort to give it a chance, it will improve your mood. Enjoy a cuddle with your pet. The smell of freshly cut grass. A nice cup of tea on a rainy day.
You can do so many things for free or for very cheap that can bring you joy. As long as you remember to look on the bright side, your days will become increasingly happier.
Learn to be grateful for even the smallest of good things in your life. Be thankful you had the time to enjoy a nice bubble bath. Or that you could get lost in a book, call a friend, or whatever else might have brought you joy. Studies have shown that being grateful for what you have is linked to greater life satisfaction. The more things you learn to appreciate, the more fulfilled you will be.
5. Prioritize Experiences And People
Money and things come and go. But, and this sounds cheesy, but it’s true, experiences are forever. In life, there will be moments where you stand to lose every material thing you have. There will also be moments where you have everything you need. You never know when hardships are going to hit you and when you’ll risk losing it all.
Instead of running after things, run after experiences. No matter how hard life gets, memories stay with you. And, if you know how to cherish them, people also stay with you. No matter how wealthy or poor, you can all enjoy time with the ones you love in some way.
Focus on bettering interpersonal relationships rather than wasting all your time chasing a promotion. Stay away from consumerism because it’s easy to get sucked into it. The truth is, things will only make you so happy. Maybe it will give you the allure of happiness for a moment, but it will never provide long-lasting fulfillment. Accumulate less, live more.
Having the accumulation of material things as your main goal will never satisfy you with the present. You will get stuck chasing more and more, and it will never be enough. It will only bring you pain long-term. It will take over all your free time, disallowing you to focus on the critical things. What good does money do if you work so much you can’t ever be with your family? Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from what’s important and create memories and connections. Travel, enjoy hobbies, go out with people, be free and present. You will feel instantly happier about who you are and what you have.
Final Thoughts On Ways To Be Happy With What You Have
Being disappointed about your present life is a standard and valid feeling. Sometimes, people can’t wrap their heads around the idea of contentment with the present. The reality is, you can be happier with less and learn to let go of irrational urges.
Try to build your own rules about how happiness should be, instead of having preconceptions. Happiness is subjective, so you should never let someone else tell you when you’re allowed to feel it. It’s alright to want to better yourself, but do it for your good, not because of peer pressure. Learn to stop comparing yourself to others and embrace the little things in life. And lastly, remember that people and memories are infinitely more valuable than material things. Taking these steps will allow you to feel genuine joy and be happy with what you have.