Today is the last day of this column on Beliefnet.com. After over 12 years of daily writings on Beliefnet, I’m moving on. I thank God for this wonderful experience. As far as I’ve been told, I’m the last original Beliefnet contributing editor and writer; everyone else is new. Now, however, I need to make some […]
After decades of being told such things like “reach for the stars,” “you can do anything,” and “you can have it all!” from an all-pervasive consumer advertising-driven culture, perhaps it’s time to rethink those ideas. A lot of us are realizing that pushing ourselves so hard to have it all, may not be the best life plan. Getting into big debt, some of us spending over our heads and beyond what is affordable, we may have bought a lot of material goods like great houses, fancy cars, and giant flat-screen TV’s but it’s also cost a lot of our income. Fine dining, gourmet cuisine and a lot of restaurant visits may have tasted good at the time, but now we have giant gourmet waistlines, challenging our self-image and even compromising our health. When it comes down to it – when we are healthy and satisfied, we “have it all.”
Consider this today: instead of wanting what you don’t have, try enjoying what you already do have. Think about the positives in yourself, and in your life, without focusing on what’s not there, or what you don’t possess.
Today’s action: While thinking of what’s good in your life, and what you already have, write your positive attributes on a piece of paper, or in a journal. Ask yourself, and note the goods, “what about me is really good, and fine?” It may be that you are nice looking, have a great smile, caring, responsible, energetic, compassionate, and loving. Write anything that comes to mind.
Next, think about what you have that’s right and fine and make a list of positive possessions. Do you have a roof over your head, and shelter? Many people in this world do not. We’re very fortunate it we do. Do you have clothes to wear, to protect you from the elements? Do you have books to read, a TV, a computer? Do you have a car or public transportation to get places? A bed to sleep in at night? Everything counts, little or big.
This is an exercise (yes, I used the dreaded word) to remind you that you already have a lot of good in your life. I hope it will remind you that it is possible to be satisfied from the position you are in: with what you have and what you do. You might even experience moments of satisfaction with who you are. Just as you are.
Now, take a meditative moment to reflect on and contemplate all the good about yourself, and in your life. Ponder your list. Once feeling centered, stress-free and appreciative, say a silent prayer (or out loud is even better) thanking God for all that is.
We’d love to hear what’s good and satisfying in your life. Please write a comment below, and tell us about what you appreciate and have, instead of what you don’t.
Norris J. Chumley, Ph.D.