My wife, Diane, has a simple philosophy. It sits on the window sill above her kitchen sink. A small plaque states:
“Happiness is wanting what you have!”
That’s it, pretty simple, but appreciating what we already have is the cornerstone of contentment. It is gratitude in its purest form. As Pope Francis said, the world tells us that success, power and money should be our goals. Advertising points us to the latest “must have” possessions, and reinforce that we are less than successful, if we don’t have them.
So we line up like lemmings to get the latest iPhone 5, when our iPhone 4S still works fine. “What would people think if I don’t have the latest version. Maybe, they will question my status.”
“I’ve got the 80 inch television, but I can’t live without the 94 inch screen.”
“You mean you don’t drive a BMW, or Mercedes, or Porsche? How can you possibly be happy?”
We are so busy wanting, that we fail to appreciate what we already have.
Diane chooses to count the blessings that God has given her, rather than dwell on those things she doesn’t have. She doesn’t covet any of her friends, if they have something she doesn’t. She is happy for them. Happy that God has blessed them.
In her gratitude for what she has, she finds contentment; humble, loving contentment.
I find that the happiest people I know are the ones who center their lives on Jesus. They realize that the “he who dies with the most toys wins,” philosophy, is not the way to heaven.
Why not try this experiment. The next time you pray the rosary, mention something that you are grateful for on each bead. I guarantee that you won’t run out of things to be grateful for.
Or if you don’t pray the rosary, make a list of things that you already have that you are grateful for. You won’t have any problems filling the entire page.
I promise you, that when you finish, you will feel happy, humble, grateful and more content. Then, try to remember that feeling. It is the “attitude of gratitude” that we all desire, the happiness that come from understanding that wanting more or even getting more, won’t make us any happier.
The power of contentment really does flow from Diane’s philosophy that true happiness comes from wanting what you already have, and counting those things as a blessing from God.
What are you grateful for today?