"To be proud of what you've received, or envy what others have, is to rob yourself of peace of mind."
It sounds nice when we read it over in our heads, but what are those words really saying?
Being proud of what you've accomplished is one thing, but being proud of what you've received is another. Essentially, it's bragging. We all do it. Especially around this time of year, it's common for us to share our new material possessions, showing them off to those around us in an unconscious effort to make others covet what we have.
Be thankful for the good things you've received, because they are a symbol of how others care for you. But don't let that gratitude transform into a piece of who you are. A set of manicured nails, designer shoes or a new car don't make us who we are. Let those be your own little enjoyments - they should make no difference in the opinions of those around you, and therefore, are not relevant in a balanced life.
And seemingly worse, there are those that do that to you! There's always that one friend, coworker or family member who is intent on showing off their new item or bragging about their new gift. It can be particularly frustrating to compare lives with those around you in terms of material items, because it always seems like someone else has something that you deserve. Whether it be a great job, expensive shopping spree or iPad, it will never be a fair comparison. Someone will always have something that you want, end of story. It's learning to let your own life be enough that will bring you true balance and peace.
It all comes back to one of my favorite quotes:
"The key to happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles."
Make a list of all that is wonderful in your life, and let the things that sadden you and stress you out fall to the back of your mind. Those little worries are not what life is about! Fill your days with worries, and your life will be one big worry.
Trust me, I am the first person to be guilty of this. I constantly am so stressed about my time spent at work that I rarely enjoy my hours spent away from the office! But I have to realize that those are my hours. Time is truly a commodity, and before the clock ticks away, we need to make a conscious decision to be happy.
Be thankful for what you have, find true appreciation in your life through those around you, and most of all, love yourself enough to make your life worthwhile. Go to yoga. Give yourself a spa treatment. Spend a day going on a long hike or bike ride. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.
j.cole (spiritually evolving twentysomething)