One of the tricks to increasing your personal happiness is to realize that it’s relative. Happiness is not an absolute. Often, this is confusing to people. They think, “If I could just do/have/eat this one thing, I’d be happy.”
It’s not often that this actually proves to be true. Instead, it more often produces feelings of disappointment or disgust because it doesn’t actually deliver the happiness that you crave. When I find myself in this rut where I, for some reason, believe that something outside of myself can bring me happiness; I try to take a break and do without.
The trick is that this time where you do without is not about deprivation. Instead, it’s about resetting your perspective. Take camping for example.
If you have ever gone camping (even if it’s just been for one night in a cabin), you have probably practiced this trick to reset your perspective. Think about how you felt taking a shower or bath in your own bathroom after your time out camping.
When you come back home, your bathroom feels luxurious! And, after camping for a week, I would swear that my bathroom is the best bathroom in the whole wide world. As I shower without shoes and with all of my scrubs and fancy soaps, my love and appreciation of my bathroom grows more and more.
So, by spending time away from my bathroom, I increased my love and appreciation of it. Nothing happened to my bathroom while I was gone. No one cleaned it or scrubbed the little mold stains out of the grout. All of that was still there when I came home. The only thing that was different was me.
Figuring Out When to Use This Trick
There are a few times in your life when you’ll want to use this trick. Here are several examples where you may want to do without for a while:
- When you’re feeling ungrateful for or dissatisfied with all that you have.
- If you notice that you have this inner voice that tells you that you need more, that what you have isn’t good enough.
- When you notice (or are told by someone else) that you’re behaving compulsively with eating, spending, etc.
Any time you have issues in any of these areas, carefully examine your reasons why. In some cases, your unhappiness or dissatisfaction may come from an external object. If my roof weren’t leaking during this rain storm, I would be so happy.
For a majority of people, though, the true cause of unhappiness comes from within. Think about that the next time you find yourself dissatisfied with what you have. If you feel like you’re chronically unhappy or always wanting more, take a break and cleanse your palate. Try to do without to change your perspective and see how much more appreciative you are for all that you have.
What do you do to reset your perspective? Let us know in the comments below.
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