Is it possible to be grateful for what you have and still want more of what makes you happy?
I’ve struggled with this question. A lot. If you’re also feeling guilty or greedy about knowing you have a wonderful life and wanting to experience it in way that feels even better, here’s a universal truth you may need to hear:
Being human is to want to continually grow, expand, explore, and create. And being grateful doesn’t require us to stay stagnant where we are.
Wanting more does not always equate to materialism, more toys, or the belief that more things will make you happier than you currently are. Sometimes wanting more means we want a deeper version of our connection to the life we already have, and less of what keeps us from that. More can mean we’re hungry to learn, to improve ourselves, and to strive to be the highest version of ourselves.
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Having hunger is what allows us to grow, and that’s a natural and phenomenal part of being human. It’s the feeling of growth that’s the underlying thing we're all striving for and is what is at the core of what makes us happy.
So how can we be extremely grateful for what we already have and still go after more of what makes us happy?
Treat each and every moment as if “this is it”— or in essence, practice being more present.
For example, when you’re at the grocery store and others are looking stressed or numbed out, practice being mindful of the fact you’re alive in this moment and have the chance to purchase your groceries in this very store. Start talking to people. Ask them about their day. Lighten the mood. If you see the person behind you only has a few items, invite them to go before you. Practice being your higher self, in even the most mundane of moments.
Presence and gratitude do not stop you from wanting to pursue more of your dreams. They prevent you from letting the moments you’re in right now slip by. Being grateful is a starting point, and a place to continually return to. But gratitude is not a limiter, that’s not its essence.
We are here to expand our gratitude to include all that we want next.
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Otherwise you’re on a road trip to no-ville, a place where no one can help you and the opportunities for growth have nowhere to find you. Listen to your heart’s deepest longings. It is your soul whispering to you and giving you direction. Your feelings are your inner GPS. Listen to them and take action in the direction of your dreams.
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Be in a true and open dialogue with those around you about what else is important to you.
My divorce and years of angst over wanting a different life taught me this is also essential. Don’t let an opportunity pass by to let those close to you know what you love and appreciate about your life, but also don’t be afraid to share what other longings you have in your heart. Just because you already have a wonderful life doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to want to grow it into something that’s even more incredible.
Life is far too short not to keep expanding into what you truly came here to live. Wanting, expanding, growing and creating a more full life, into all the crevasses we have, is what our soul desired in coming here to have a human experience. And it is what allows for even more gratitude.
Emma Bathie is a Soul Happiness Coach. Learn more about her work and how to create more of life's meaning and magic here.
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Tell us in the comments: How do you express your own wants and needs?