We are all unhappy with some things sometimes. Our job, our social life, our marriage or relationship, even our children or parents. But if you are finding that you are constantly unhappy with almost everything, chances are that the problem is not really any of those things. The problem is more likely that something inside you that is preventing you from being happy and enjoying your life. If you keep changing jobs, relationships, locations or friends to try and fix it, you are only making things worse because you are addressing the wrong problem.
Let’s clear the air right now: despite what TV tells us, stuff will not make you happy. Trying to purchase happiness only results in an endless game of chase, where you just continuously run after the next thing you think you need instead of ever being able to enjoy what you actually have. It’s a vicious cycle that never stops. If you are truly happy inside, you will not need to keep searching for that “something” that will magically make everything better. Whether it’s a new car or TV or new clothes, a new job, a new boyfriend or plastic surgery for a new nose, none of these things provide lasting happiness. You can dump as many new things, as many drugs, as much food and sex on top of that empty feeling as you want and all you are going to want is more because you are not addressing the real problem. It’ll never be enough.
Many people don’t know what true happiness even feels like; they mistake the “high” provided by new acquisitions for happiness. Instead of searching for things to make you happy, concentrate on being happy inside yourself. Desire is the root to all suffering. You hurt because you want, and some people want so badly that they confuse this with need. This causes chronic dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Happiness is in balance and appreciation. There is nothing wrong with having goals or with wanting things, so long as their importance is not such that you cannot be happy without them.
If you feel resentment, anger, distress or sadness when you are unable to get or achieve something you want, it might be time to ask yourself why it is so important to you and what it really means. For example: if you are depressed or upset when you cannot buy new clothes, why are you upset? Do you feel less attractive without them? Do you feel that it reflects badly on you as a person when you are not wearing the latest styles? These are things that actually have nothing to do with clothes; they are about your self-image. Everyone wants to look good and there is nothing wrong with that, but it should not be a major drive or force in a person’s life. It should not cause undue stress or upset. If it does, it’s time to figure out why.
Another example could be that you get bored or resentful at a job or in a relationship after a while. There can certainly be awful jobs and bad relationships but if this is a pattern in your life, it’s time to find out why. What is it you like about the relationship or job in the beginning? Why can you not sustain that over time? Maybe all you really like in the beginning is the feeling of acquisition or conquest, not the actual job or person themselves. Maybe your expectations or goals are unrealistic. No job is going to be exciting every day and neither is any relationship. It is unrealistic to expect this so it may be time to take some personal inventory and try to understand why you cannot be satisfied. Chronic boredom that occurs this way is an indication that something else is wrong. If you must constantly be stimulated, it might be worth it to ask yourself what you are trying to distract yourself from. What are you trying to avoid?
The search for more is draining and it leads to chronic unhappiness. It causes anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, low self-worth, gastrointestinal problems and many of the other physical and emotional problems that come with stress. The key is appreciation. Being appreciative of what you already have goes so far toward happiness, because it removes the root of desire. We are bombarded with messages every day that tell us unless we have, unless we feel, unless we do, unless we can, unless we get ________, we are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or fast enough, and therefore we cannot compete and we cannot be happy. None of those things are true but this programming can be very hard to overcome.
The only things that lead to true happiness are love and appreciation. Love is the answer, it is the question, it is the entire point of existing. Appreciation facilitates love. Look around you at how many people don’t seem to feel either of these things. The world is sorely lacking in love and appreciation. Is it any wonder so many people are so miserable, both physically and mentally? Enriching yourself spiritually helps tremendously as well. I know that for myself, it helps really put things in perspective. When faced with the eternal grandeur of the soul, the rest of this stuff really seems pretty silly and unimportant.
There are lots of things you can do to help break the Cycle of More. You can make lists of things you should be appreciative of, you can meditate, you can do yoga, you can take walks with no particular purpose and just take in the scenery, you can put your electronic devices away and spend real time with your family, you can take a hot bath and just relax, without worrying what you need to do or get or find or buy. Try to think of at least one thing every day that you are grateful for; after all, if you have food to eat, a place to live and a family, you are better off than 80% of the world’s population. You are lucky. You are blessed. What more could you want? 🙂