I’ve been hearing voices. Voices that tell me there is a gaping void in my life and they can fix it. They tell me that I have needs and deficits that I never realized myself.
The voices are loud and they compete with each other to see which can be the loudest. They are particularly loud this time of year-the holidays. I see other people obeying these voices. Even repeating to others exactly what the voices tell them as if they were their own. The basic message:
There is something wrong with or lacking in your life and you must consume or attain something to fix it.
Do you hear it?
This message is a lie, and it causes needless suffering.
When we believe in this message, we end up in debt. Financial, health and emotional debt. This happens as we desperately try to satisfy the voices that tell us we need more. That some type of salvation is just around the corner if only we could just possess or be this:____.
The problem is, these deficits will never go away because as soon as you have alleviated one, a new one will be created. It’s a hunger that can never be satisfied. We can always be more productive, possess more, be “better” and there will always be someone or something to compare ourselves to, to help us realize our perpetual lacking. There are many people out there banking, literally, on this fact.
Remember that achievements, along with possessions, lose their luster faster than we would like to admit. They are subject to hedonic adaptation, or, the progressive tendency we harbor to become less satisfied with what previously satisfied us. This cycle comes to a screeching halt as soon as we lose something meaningful to us. Tragedy has a way of making us wish we had fully appreciated what we had in the first place.
So that leads us to this:
Before you go off full speed into the self-improvement highway this year, make sure you have really taken stock in what you already have. In fact, make a commitment to practice some voluntary poverty. Be comfortable, better yet, THRIVE needing less of superficial and fleeting indulgences, whether material or mental. Reconnect with the subtleties in life that cannot be quantified or measured in terms of superficial self progress. Things like people, experiences, relationships, thoughts, safety, memories, silence and freedom. Cultivate and appreciate that in your life which would be most devastating to lose.
Realize that you really could lose it.
Whatever you chose to work on this year, proceed from this understanding, and in doing so, best of luck.