I live in a country whose media bombards us with messages that what we have isn’t enough. We’re told we need new cars, new furniture, new devices, new clothes, new experiences, new this and new that. We “must” have the latest and greatest, and if we don’t – well then, we just aren’t good enough. My country seems to equate our ability to have things with the amount of happiness we can experience. Mine is not the only country that does this, too.
This way of thinking really traps us into spending money for things that will not make us happy. Happiness isn’t found in buying things or having things. Buying things and having things just makes our homes crowded and our pocket books empty. Sure, there’s a rush when we buy something. It makes us temporarily happy, but we aren’t satisfied.
We have so much. Most of the world still has problems with getting clean water on a reliable basis. Most of the world struggles with safe and protective housing. Most of the world struggles with reliable heat and power sources. Most of the world still struggles with educating its citizens. And, honestly, most of the world struggles with securing the safety of its citizens.
I spent 18 months in a country that struggled with all of these issues. The state controlled when its citizens received heat in the winter and hot water during the day. The water wasn’t safe to drink – we filtered it through three separate filters so we could drink it. Many of the people I knew had dirt floors, no indoor plumbing, and their homes were very poorly constructed. The police were viewed with suspicion and had reputations about as good as The Mob’s. My husband lived in a community that when cars came into the area it meant the drug cartels were in the area and were most likely there to kill someone. Both of these communities are in developing countries. The people in these communities didn’t have nearly as much as what is normal in my country, yet most of them were truly happy.
Truly, what satisfies can’t be found in stores, on-line, or in a magazine. Satisfaction has a cost, but it’s not money. Satisfaction comes from hard work, loving people, and helping others. Add to these three an appreciation for everything we do have, and then we achieve true happiness.
I look at my life and am overwhelmed by my blessings. At the touch of a button, I have light in my house. At the touch of a button, I have heating for my family. At the touch of a button, I have access to more information than I could ever comprehend. At the touch of a button, I can call for help from my local police and know they will respond and protect me.
This is just a small list. I haven’t mentioned any of the beauties of the world or other special people who bless me so much.
When I really look at all I have, I don’t need any more. Counting my blessings brings happiness and contentment, even in the face of difficulties or trials. Counting my blessings brings appreciation for the gifts I have and a humility that I have received so much. Counting my blessings cures the “want it” moments.