Every single one of us knows what it feels like to want something. But do we know the power of gratitude? From the moment we take our first breaths, we loudly assert our desire for something we want. We want food, comfort, sleep, to be held. As infants, our wants are simple. But as we grow, we learn to want more. We want a particular toy, we want a certain snack, we want just the right pair of shoes. The older we get, the more elaborate, and sometimes more expensive, our wants become.
We want more money, designer clothing, the biggest house, the perfect spouse. When we get something we want, it makes us feel good—for a while. Soon, though, we want something else. It’s easy to fall into the mindset that what we have is never enough and to equate what we want with our happiness. But it’s possible to be set free from the prison of want. Here’s how.
Acknowledge the problem.
A single person might say, “If only I were married, then I would be happy.” A married couple might say, “If only we had a baby, then we would be happy.” An employee might say, “If only I made more money, then I would be happy.” I call this the “If, Then” Marriage Cycle.
The problem isn’t what you want. It’s the fact that your joy and contentment in life are directly tied to the want being fulfilled. Knowing the secret to being content is one step to being set free.
The problem isn’t what you want. It’s the fact that your joy and contentment in life are directly tied to the want being fulfilled.
Here are three more things that will help unlock the power of gratitude and set you free from your prison of want.
1. Instead of saying, “I want…,” try saying, “I have…”
It may seem simplistic, and truly, it is. The next time you think of something you want—something you think you need in order to be happy—stop and take an inventory of all the things you have. This mindset has helped me on many occasions. You may even want to make a list to help you see just how much you’ve been given.
2. Have an attitude of gratitude.
Take all those things you just listed and start giving thanks for them. It’s hard to feel unhappy or needy when you are thankful. Having an attitude of gratitude has helped me to find joy in the daily grind.
3. Consider others’ wants.
Look around you. Everywhere you turn, there are people who have less, who struggle more, who truly need, but they are content. Is there something on your list that would bless or provide some measure of relief for someone else?
We are only imprisoned by want when we allow our joy to rest on the stuff we can get—earthly treasures. Those things break and fade away. They will never last and will never ultimately satisfy you. So, take the keys above and set yourself free from the prison of want and live a life of true joy. Are you breaking free?
What are you thankful for today? Share in a comment below.