When you see what others have, is your first reaction to notice what you’re missing or be grateful for what you have? Does it send you into a spiral of dissatisfaction or push you to achieve more? Are you happy for your family, friends and colleagues that have bought that new house, got that promotion, gone on their dream vacation, etc?
Too often we focus on what we lack instead of what we have. According to researcher Brené Brown, we live in a culture of perceived scarcity, what she calls “our culture of ‘never enough.’” Brown says we start off the morning thinking we didn’t get enough sleep, go through the day thinking we don’t have enough time, and fall asleep thinking that we failed to accomplish enough tasks. Whatever we have, do, or get, it’s never enough.
As we interact with others, we are painfully aware of what we might be missing: looks, smarts, talent, money, creativity—you name it. Not only are all of these comparisons discouraging, they can distort and potentially bury the individual gifts we have been given.
The gratitude lens
Regardless of our culture of perceived scarcity or our individual circumstances, we all can see our blessings and gifts if we will really look. If we view our lives through the right lens, we have all been given more than we could possibly ask for. That lens is called gratitude, and it’s a lens that amplifies everything good in our lives. Gratitude helps us cultivate a mindset of abundance.
The truth is that we will never have more of what we truly desire until we become fully thankful for what we have. Ingratitude creates instant victims in our culture of scarcity.
4 ways to practice gratitude
- Prayer – start and end each day thanking God for your many blessings
- Journaling – write down at least 3 things that you’re grateful for each day
- Reflection – take time to reflect on what you’re thankful for
- Sharing – sincerely thank those around you for being who they are or for what they have
So the next time you find yourself feeling jealous of someone else, try to be happy for them. If they have something that you want then come up with a personal plan to achieve it. Many people create vision boards that have things on it they can see. Perhaps it would be beneficial to create a gratitude board as well.