There seems to be a lot of confusion about how you can have an attitude of acceptance of your current situation, being thankful for what you have, maintaining perspective, etc. and at the same time continuing to strive for growth and improvement. I previously wrote about this in an article about contentment. For whatever reason though some people continue to struggle with it. I’ll try to clarify my thoughts in this article with some other ideas.
For me personally, this is no longer a problem. My current situation includes my intentions, ideas, and plans. They are all part of my now. They are part of my current situation and so when I accept what is, I am accepting the fact that I intend to or may even be in the process of growing and changing. If I have a new idea tomorrow then that new idea becomes part of tomorrow’s now.
You can be thankful for the fact that you have a job. You can be doing an extraordinary job at whatever it is you do. You can live in the moment while realizing that each moment is a step to the next moment. You can maintain perspective and even consider yourself lucky that you are better off than most.
You can do all of this while at the same time looking to improve yourself and grow in every way you can. You can strive to live each day more than you lived the last while being happy and at peace with what is during each of those days. You can be totally happy now and at the same time strive towards more dreams in your future.
I admit I used to struggle with this. I was never happy with the present. I was always looking for something better and of course if there was something better out there, I couldn’t be satisfied with what I already had. They key is to disconnect the situations you find yourself in each moment from how you feel about your life. Disconnect results and conditions from how you think about your life. You can do it and if want to find lasting peace and happiness you have to do it. No matter what you achieve, it will never be enough. Your threshold for happiness will just shift. The target will move as you move.
If you don’t equate a particular result or condition to happiness, you won’t have any problem. There is no conflict here. When tomorrow doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to turn out, you don’t have to stress about it, have a breakdown, lose your self-esteem, or anything else. It’s just another day with another set of circumstances that make up your life in that now.
The other day I published the article Mavis Karn’s Secret. The whole point of that article is that your thoughts and your thoughts alone determine how you feel. It’s not external circumstances, it’s your thinking about those circumstances that make you feel stressed, depressed, unhappy, or whatever. Eckhart Tolle says very well:
“Maybe you are being taken advantage of, maybe the activity you are engaged in is tedious, maybe someone close to you is dishonest, irritating, or unconscious, but all of that is irrelevant. The fact is that your are resisting what is. You are making the present moment into an enemy. You are creating unhappiness, conflict between the inner and outer.”
Richard Carlson says that becoming aware of your thinking is the most powerful and practical mental tool in your toolbox. I think I have to agree. You can get there and I know you can because I did it.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
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