“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
We all go through a point in out lives when we come to a hard realization. Some call it “rock bottom”, while for others, it’s simply about learning the ugly truth and I’ve been there for more times than I could ever imagine. Part of the reason why I blog about personal development is to not only help you guys in helping achieve the kind of happiness and fulfillment every person should feel but to also, in the process, help myself reach that level too. Writing has allowed me to make huge changes in my life and I want everyone to share that experience.
Remember the last time you felt like you’re a failure? That time when you blamed yourself for the things you’ve been missing out and for not doing everything you can to reach your goals? That time when you felt like you deserve more than what you have at the moment but you don’t? That time when you felt like you should have done something but it’s too late?
I don’t know why but most people, including myself at some point, love to wallow in self-pity. We love to soak in discouragement and feel sorry for ourselves every time we experience adversity. We end up getting depressed and feel helpless thinking that we will never be able to get out of the rut we’ve put ourselves in. Sounds familiar right?
It’s no secret that we’ve had a major financial problem and we’re still in the thick of the battle as of this writing. It really came to a point when I just felt hopeless and helpless at the same time. I can still remember having the worst feeling every time I’m about to open one of our credit card bills. It was like a mixture of fear, anxiety, and depression all rolled into one. It was excruciating.
I was asking myself, when will this ever end?
My car’s had all sorts of trouble but I didn’t have the budget to get it fixed. We were buried in debt and we were getting by from paycheck-to-paycheck. Looking at Facebook made me feel small especially when I see my other batchmates already successful in their respective careers. They have high-paying jobs, brand new cars, and they were able to eat wherever they want to because they’re financially capable and I wasn’t. I looked back and asked myself, what have I done with my life? I shouldn’t be where I am right now. At least not anymore.
Well, that was the old me and that guy was an absolute jerk. I’ve slowly turned my life around through positive thinking and gratitude and I’ve never felt better. Being grateful and learning to appreciate what I have has given me clarity and joy that I’ve never felt for a long time and I made it all happen by just being aware of what’s happening around me. I just looked at my surroundings but instead for searching for what’s missing, I appreciated what I already had.
Other people have it worse
My wife works for a private hospital and every time I come to fetch her, I always notice this family living outside the train station near the hospital. They lived in the street and slept on the path that people walk on. The young couple had four children. The eldest was around ten years old while the youngest was an infant. Their clothes were ripped and dirty and they ate leftovers from garbage cans. Sometimes, passersby gave them extra food and clothing especially for the infant.
I can’t imagine how difficult their lives were and I really felt sorry for their children. I was curious how they took care of themselves when it was raining or how these kids are taken care of when they get sick. Just by paying attention to this poor family, I realized what an idiot I am.
Here I was complaining about being buried in debt and not being able to buy the things I want when there’s this family who doesn’t have a place to stay and no food to eat. Compare to them, I was so damn lucky.
Appreciate what you have
As a parent, nothing could be worse than having a sick child. I get so worried every time one of my kids get sick even if they only have fever. Sometimes, I even ask for permission to work from home just so I can keep a close eye on them.
One day I was watching the news and there was this child who died of a rare disease called meningococcemia which is caused by a bacteria that affects the upper respiratory tract and could be spread through coughing and sneezing. This bacteria is so lethal that it has a 40% fatality rate. it was scary. I thought to myself, what are the chances? I’m still very lucky that my kids only get common colds and cough most of the time and that they have never contracted any life-threatening disease like dengue fever.
My family’s health is something I am truly grateful for because when it comes to our families, especially our kids, no amount of money or wealth will ever be enough. We will give everything up even if it meant trading our lives for theirs.
Be contented but not too ambitious
Everyone wants to be rich. We all aspire to be wealthy someday and be able to buy everything we’ve always wanted and there’s nothing wrong with that. Having an ambition is a positive thing because it’s what will drive you towards success but while you’re not there yet, you have to be contented with what you have because money can’t buy you everything. It won’t buy you friends or even happiness so learn to appreciate the things that make you happy.
I have a colleague who earns really big money because of his skill. He and his family travel a lot and they’ve got several cars parked in their garage but the last time we spoke, he didn’t sound happy at all because according to him, despite having a lot of money and getting to buy everything they need, he didn’t have time for his kids. He was on call everyday and his job has taken away time he should be spending with the family. He said he’s willing to take less money if it meant having more time with them.
My mentor, who used to be a top executive in one of the major companies here in the Manila took on a lesser role and took a huge pay cut with the condition that he is off-limits for the weekend. He can demand for a higher position and a ton of money if he needed to but it’s not what makes him happy.
The next time you feel discouraged and you find yourself complaining about how life hasn’t been fair to you or how you deserve more than what you have now, look around you. Look at the homeless families who struggle to have a decent meal each and every day. Look at the people in war-torn countries who’s not even sure if they’ll still be alive tomorrow. Look at the terminally ill patients in hospitals who have already been given a few months to live and ask yourself.
WHO AM I TO COMPLAIN?
You’ll only learn to find happiness when you’ve found what you need to be grateful for because once you do, you’ll find joy no matter what situation you are in.
Over to you
Are you grateful for the life you have now?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I would live to have meaningful conversations with you.
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