Thanksgiving has become a day when people are encouraged to express their thanks for the good things in their lives. Quite often one will say they are thankful for their husband, children, and friends. Rarely do you hear anyone say they are thankful for where they are at financially or for their worldly possessions. That just seems inappropriate, cold, and self-centered. So then why do we allow those things to take priority in our day-to-day lives the rest of the year.
I stumbled across this quote from Oprah Winfrey, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough.”
We live in a society where people are always striving to acquire more materialistic possessions…a bigger house, better car, nicer clothes, participate in fine dining, the best of the best. Unfortunately there are also a lot of people who are unable to achieve those things. Families that struggle financially, working just to pay their bills without luxuries others take for granted. Are those people less happy than those who have everything? Not necessarily. In some ways they may be emotionally richer.
Your happiness in life is not a product of the wealth. It is of the relationships you have, the peace you feel in your life. If you are always striving to better yourself financially, working hard to purchase all the “things” you want, doing what it takes to prove you are an accomplished person, you may find yourself with a lot of possessions but not really happy. You will always be pushing for something bigger and better, striving for a fulfillment you can’t quite reach.
If you concentrate on enjoying the little things in life — the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the perfection of a flower in bloom, the joy in a child’s laughter, the sound of the waves crashing on a shore, and personal connections to the people around you, that is when you will find yourself content. Those are the things that hold value far greater than anything you can purchase. They are what gives life meaning.
Be thankful for what you have, not what you can purchase. If you concentrate on materialistic things you will never be fulfilled. If you focus on what you do have, the things that money can not buy and realize their value, you will find contentment, and anything beyond that is a bonus.