Feeling dissatisfied? Like you need more or the next best thing? Like you’ll be happy if…. (fill in the blank).
I understand this feeling. I spent years seeking things, places, people, and attaining things, places and people—only to find that these did not give my heart peace. I had this affinity for more—for newness—to an unhealthy extent. I eventually learned to balance the urge to follow my impulses with the patience to sit with dullness at times and wait it out for something better. Better always came.
The grass is most definitely not always greener on the other side. After all, we still have to mow it.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in 39 years is that happiness is not there. It’s here and now.
Do realize that contentment is not settling! We need not be complacent creatures. We should strive for greatness and have goals, just not with a mission to attain happiness.
Here are three ways to try to overcome the “Grass is Greener” complex:
1. Focus On The Now
Get your head out of the past or the future. It only belongs in the here and now. Live on the grass you have, and evaluate every blade. This means the blade that is yourself, the blade that is your family, your career, your things, your practices—be mindful of it all. This sums it up:
2. Cultivate Gratitude
There are a lot of nice gratitude quotes out there, but I’m sticking with Oprah’s. She speaks to everyone.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
~ Oprah Winfrey
In other words, be thankful for the grass you have. And by grass, I mean life. No matter your circumstances, you are alive and that is something for which to be grateful. A thankful heart that appreciates what it has is never wanting. You will find peace.
3. Love, Love, Love
Love yourself. Love others. Love your life. Love and love until you can’t love anymore.
Keep learning what it means to love. I promise, you’ll never stop learning. Sometimes I’m surprised by others’ capacity to love in the face of hurt and pain. One friend told me every time she says, “I love you” to a certain person, it means that she forgives him. She honors the relationship that still exists, despite the pain that transpired in the past. It’s a beautiful act of loving-kindness that helped me realize where I need to grow.
All this loving will help develop a mind of peace, which cultivates mindfulness and gratitude, the other keys to contentment.
So what if none of this comes naturally?
Then work on it. Practice being in the moment by focusing on your breath. Read books on mindfulness, gratitude, love and contentment. Make a list of the good you would like to grow in you and then, just do it.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: Caros Ionut/Pixoto