In our modern lives, we rush from point to point, meeting to meeting, event to event. In the past, we did this in a relatively private setting, and only our family, close friends and colleagues knew how busy (or not busy) we were. However, with the advent of social media, everybody seemed to want to outdo each other to show how marvelously interesting or exciting their lives were. When did our lives become a reality show and privacy become old news? People who could afford to lead exciting lives full of holidays, parties and glamorous events drew envy, while those who could not afford to do so, suddenly had a reason to feel incomplete or lacking in some way. Most do not realise that this is an unhealthy trend.
Realise that You Do Not Need to Keep Up with the Joneses
As the saying goes – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Let the flashy neighbours buy their new car. Your 5-year-old car is doing fine. Of course, it might have a hiccup once in a while. There might be some repairs required from time to time, or some new parts, but that is just wear and tear. Keep the bonus you would use as a downpayment for a spanking new car for a rainy day instead, and forget about getting a loan to buy that hot red two-seater convertible you have been eyeing for the past week.
Let your old school friend buy the latest smartphone model, for which he declared he was going to queue outside the shop for from 7am onwards on launch day. Yours is only a year old. It was the latest model when you bought it and it still serves you well, without any problems.
Let your colleague buy the new eight-thousand-ringgit piano for his musically gifted daughter. Your son is enjoying his guitar lessons and your old guitar, given to you by your father on your birthday, is still is good condition. Stop thinking about getting an eight-thousand-ringgit violin and switching the boy to take violin lessons.
Realise That You Have Many Things to Be Thankful For
Do not look at what you do not have. Instead, look at what you do have.
Of course, your neighbour’s spanking new car looks gorgeous. But one day, it will grow old and your neighbour will grow tired of it, and the neighbourhood will stop ogling at it in favour of something else that is new and exciting. As with all things new, it will one day become passé, or old news.
Furthermore, your old school friend’s smartphone will attract an orbit of curious people wanting to check out the latest model, but it might not necessarily be the best in the market, or trouble-free. Sometimes, it is better to let people test the latest model first, then give their reviews. Based on informed and unbiased reviews, you can then decide if buying the new phone is indeed worthwhile. If you are unlucky, your latest model might come packaged with hardware weaknesses or software glitches.
Lastly, if your kid loves playing the guitar, let him be. Do not try something funny, or you will end up with a kid that will not play any musical instrument at all. Kids are a force to be reckoned with and you want your kid to be cooperative and on your side. 🙂
Instead of dwelling on what you do not have, make it a point to think of what you do have. If you do not have the habit of having such thoughts, try making a list to help you along. Stick the list on our fridge door, or on your car dashboard, or at the side of your computer monitor screen.
You do not need to copy somebody else’s list. Your list is custom-designed by you, and is only applicable for you. Here’s an example:
Your list does not need to be long, grand or complicated. It can have only three items, or it can have ten. It is entirely up to you.
Make It a Habit to Think of Things You are Thankful For
We all have to start somewhere, sometime. Why not now?
If you do not have the habit of being thankful for all the good things in your life, then you have to kick-start the habit. Here are some things you can do to help you along:
- Take 5-10 mins a day to think of everything you are thankful for. You might want to make it the same time every day, just to help make this habit-forming exercise a bit easier. For example, when you wake up every morning, or right before you go to sleep. If you want to take it a bit further, you can meditate quietly on the topic of thankfulness for 10 mins a day.
- Try to observe your thoughts. Once you find that you are thinking of something you are unhappy or dissatisfied about, for example, your boss did not appreciate all the articles you wrote for the company website, try to switch this thought with something you are thankful for, such as your mango tree bloomed for the first time since you planted it in the garden five years ago. You will have mango fruits soon!
- The little things count. In fact, the little things make the biggest difference. Being thankful is not about lavish things and big gestures. These are infrequent and far between. What are you going to do in the meantime, while you wait for the next one? The little things are small, and might seem insignificant, but they make the most difference because they happen every day. For example, the cheerful admin lady who wishes you good morning every day, or the old friend who calls you to ask you how you are getting on and tell you the latest good news about your ex-classmates. They might be common and even mundane, but they help to brighten up even the most dull and boring day.
So, make it a habit to be thankful. Maybe it will not make much of a difference in your life, but maybe it will make you smile more often, or even sleep better at night! Who knows? 🙂
Here’s to new beginnings and better days to come. 😀
Note: I was inspired to write my Mindful Monday posts after reading Silver Threading‘s Mindful Monday articles. Please visit her blog to read her latest Mindful Monday post, entitled How to catch more zzzz’s. 😉