Whether attributed to societal pressures or an internal conflict, many of us are no strangers to this tendency to yearn for the next best thing.
We’ve convinced ourselves that our lives will be complete if we obtain this missing link. It could be a bigger paycheck, or a better boyfriend. Whatever it is, we may find ourselves thinking, I’m happy now, but wouldn’t life be perfect if __________.
Accepting that what we have currently is enough isn’t always simple. And how can it be? Thanks to the society we live in today, we have an abundance of opportunities and choices. The issue with these options is that it causes restlessness. We worry that we’re settling, and are unable to be satisfied with our current state.
The “grass is always greener” phenomena can come to play as well. For instance, some individuals advocate quitting their careers and traveling the world instead. Look how happy they are, we think. I want that! The exposure to others’ drastically different life choices can lead us to second guess our own decisions. As a result, we question whether we are following the right path ourselves.
Here are 3 indicators that you should stop searching, and be content with where you are:
1. You notice positive patterns.
Recognize the bad habits that you have improved on. Maybe you have a better work ethic than you did previously, or have begun to engage in healthier behaviors. These accomplishments may seem menial day by day, but are huge in the grand scheme of things. We also often forget to praise ourselves. However, this is critical in mitigating the chance of torturing ourselves by comparison to others.
2. You challenge yourself often.
Learning new things may appear to simply fit into your routine, and not be worth recognition. Your job may be stressful, but it also improves your resilience. You learn to accept feedback. Your long-distance relationship may be a struggle, but continuing to find creative ways to show your love for each other may be a bonding experience in itself. Variety in our lives can leave us feeling more fulfilled, and less likely to saunter towards wondering, “What if?”
3. You value the little things.
Have you ever been laughing with a good friend, and just thought about how lucky you are to have them in your life? Cheesy, but important too. You’re less likely to be envious of others when you embrace these little moments, and stop dwelling over what’s missing. Sometimes you need to remember that you may be feeling unrealistically “single and forever alone”, but you also have amazing friends that you wouldn’t trade for the world. Focus on that enjoyable weekend at the beach, or that eye-opening late-night talk you had with your best friend. These small instances ultimately culminate into memories that you’ll never forget. So cherish them.
Placing your self-worth in the hands of an outside source can be dangerous. Focusing on what’s missing means that we are always looking for where to go – and not able to just be present where we are.
Maybe we need to devote less time of our time searching for the magical answer to life, and more time being mindful of what we have.
It may be human nature to long for more, but we can train ourselves to eventually stop feeling that way. The next time you catch yourself reflecting on an accomplishment rather than harping on what may or may not be missing, you’re already making progress.