"A clinical counsellor on Vancouver Island says it's natural to feel anxious in light…
One of the most pervasive and destructive emotional and mental inclinations is to focus too much on what we want, our desires, rather than on what we already have. This should not really be news to most of us, as it is a tendency that seems to be widespread. Ironically, it doesn’t seem to make any difference on how much we have, we just seem to want even more, forever expanding our endless list of desires. This naturally guarantees that we will never really be happy with what we have, for once you get that want fulfilled, there is a tendency to want something else, or to want the same thing, but a perceived better version of it (ie., think getting a bigger house, or a better car, or the latest smart phone). The result is a constant state of pursuing happiness through acquisition, with an inevitable experience of dissatisfaction.
We all know this experience, be that experience of our own unfulfilled desires, or that of someone we know. If we don’t get what we want, we keep thinking about all that we don’t have, and so supporting and maintaining (maybe even creating) a constant mental and emotional state of dissatisfaction. On the other hand, if we do get what we want, that state of fulfillment and satisfaction is short lived, soon to be replaced by the same thinking and questing for something else. And so the circular pattern continues to be re-created, and despite getting what we want, we still remain unhappy and unsatisfied. Happiness and contentment can not be found when we are constantly yearning for the next new desire.
Become Satisfied with Your Life
However, there is a way to interrupt and change this self-fulfilling circular pattern. It requires altering the focus of your thinking and emphasizing what you have, rather than what you don’t have. For example, rather than wishing your partner was different in this way or that way, try thinking about and reviewing the qualities that you have found to be endearing. Instead of complaining about your work, or colleagues or salary, turn your attention to being grateful and appreciative of being employed. Rather than yearning for the next great holiday in some wonderful or exotic destination, be thankful for all the great activities and things that you can do in your own home town and community.
Each time you find yourself slipping into the thinking trap of wishing life were different, slow yourself down, take a deep breath and think of all those things that you are grateful for and appreciative of. By focusing on what you have now, rather than on what you don’t have, you will find that you end up feeling better about your own circumstances, and likely improving them exponentially. So, rather than complaining about your spouses short-comings, focus on their good qualities, which will help you feel more loving and in turn, make your partner feel more loving towards you. By thinking more about what you have, your life will begin to appear much better than before and will move you more deliberately in the direction of genuinely being satisfied with your life circumstances.