This series is all about the lessons I’m learning + the ways the people in my life inspire me. Today I’m inspired to want what I have.
I’ve been listening to the Bold New Mom podcast a lot lately and have gotten some brilliant insights from what Jody teaches. While I don’t agree with her on every point, I do recommend listening, if for no other reason than to be more conscious about what + why you think + feel the things you do.
In a few episodes she brings up an idea that has changed my perspective dramatically: try to want what you have. That’s it. Instead of only wanting things because you don’t have them, consider how much you do have that you also want to have.
For me, it’s been a total game changer.
Suddenly I find it easier to be patient with + enjoy my children. Instead of looking at all the unfinished projects around the house, I see how far we’ve come in the last five years and feel so proud of our efforts. It’s almost like putting on rose-colored glasses; everything seems brighter + better, but the only thing that has changed is me.
“Why not just be more thankful, Jen?” you’re probably asking. And you’re not wrong. Being thankful for what I have is so important, and I make a point of being generous with my thanks. I’m all over that gratitude attitude.
Somehow, though, this is different. I promise.
Consciously wanting what I already have feels different from merely feeling grateful for it.
One of my favorite things about this practice—and it is definitely a mindset that takes practice!—is I feel childlike delight + wonder all the time.
I want to be a mom…and I am a mom! How cool is that? I want to live in a safe place, with good people, great schools, and lots of fun resources…and I do! Summer heat aside, where we live is pretty dang fantastic. I also want to cook tasty food, decorate my home the way I like it, take pretty pictures, and write whatever I want…and I do all those things! And I love doing them! It’s so much fun!
Somehow when I want what I have, what I already have feels new and exciting again for a moment. And that feeling make it easy to let go of jealousy + dissatisfaction. How can I be dissatisfied or want something else when what I have is so wonderful?
When I want what I have, I find I’m also more mindful of what I need to do to maintain it.
Let’s take my marriage, for example. I want to be married to David. Right now, I am, and I have been for the last ten years, and that’s brilliant. But there’s no guarantee that things will stay that way. Suppose I start abusing him verbally or physically, or I stop contributing to our family’s needs, or I just up and disappear for hours or days at a time without telling him where I’m going or why. What then?
I might still want to be married to David, but would he still want to be married to me?
Where gratitude makes me appreciate what is already there, wanting what I have motivates me to do what I can to keep it. Even improve it, so it’s more wonderful than it is now.
Do you see the difference? Does it make sense?
More than just noticing the abundance in my life, I’m embracing it. Remembering how it felt to want what I now have, and being so excited for everything Past Jen has to look forward to. Thinking about how sad I’d be if it went away, and therefore cherishing the fact that it’s here, now.
I want this. I choose it. And maybe it’s not all rainbows + unicorns all the time, but it sure it awesome.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. May you have all the mashed potatoes + pie you want…and may you want all that you have. <3
Have you ever actively tried to want what you have? I love learning new ways to increase my gratitude. What other things do you do to keep an appreciation of the goodness in your life?