On Wanting More
Can you recall the last item you coveted after for a while? Once you purchased what really wanted, how long did it take before you found another shiny item that caught your attention? We are just entering the Christmas season and with it, we have already begun to get bombarded with targeted ads and promos tailored to match our wish list.
Wanting more is hard wired into our DNA. In fact, it is a value of the capitalist culture we live in. Wanting more has led us to fight against conformity and to grow. When something is broken, we don’t sit by idly. Instead wanting more gives us the energy to fix it. Wanting more motivates us parents to create opportunities for our children to thrive in. Wanting more helps us create goals and milestones at work to help us excel. Wanting more keeps us on running in the game of life.
Sometimes, though, our demanding nature spills over to our relationships. If you are married, you expect your spouse to do and to act this way and that. If you are a parent, you have expectations for how your children should behave. Having these expectations clearly defined can be a good thing. Expect these expectations are not always very clear or they are way out of our league. What happens, when your wants exceed your capacity or the reality of others around you?
Maybe you want a big home but can’t afford the mortgage that comes with it. Or maybe you want your child to try out for varsity sports when he doesn’t care for sports. Or maybe you want to have dinner parties at your home and your spouse is an introvert. When we hold on to expectations or wants that are unrealistic and impose these on our loved ones, bitterness and resentment can brew. When we don’t hold our wants in check, dissatisfaction can take hold of our spirit. We begin to snap at our loved ones for not doing this or that. We nit pick at the smallest infractions. We become restless creating a laundry list of disappointing to-dos that have been left unchecked. Since you and I are both bent towards wanting more, we will stack up expectations in our children and spouses, often in ways that are destructive to the relationship. It comes in the form of nagging. And such nagging and criticism after a while creates inertia. We stop feeling motivated to do and instead settle back or drag along.
When we arrive at the juncture that offers two pathways: the road of wanting that leads to growth and the road of wanting that leads to inertia, how do we know which road we should choose? The good news is that we don’t have to choose if we adopt an attitude of generosity.
Generosity is the key that lets us want without drowning us in the process. Generosity is how much we give of each other. It can be the small details of making a loved one a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, to the garbage that regularly gets put out, to the flowers and chocolate that are given. When we give, we unleash our soul. In giving, the selfishness that entraps is freed up. When we give, we are able to aspire for more, without giving up our soul in the process. A generous and grateful attitude helps us keep our hearts in check.
Giving melts away the ice that can build up when our greed gets the best of us. And giving helps us stay satisfied and happy. In fact, a national survey found that couples who scored the highest on a generosity scale were far more likely to report being “very happy” in their marriages.
Would you like to be happy in your marriage and in your most cherished relationships? Be thankful to everyone, always. Adopt a spirit of gratitude 365 days a year. The reality is that you will always want more from your loved ones – what they do for you today is never enough. You will crave for more than what they can ever give you. If you hover over what you feel you don’t have, resentment and even contempt can move in making you incredibly unhappy and mean. Make it a goal to be generous and thankful every day and you will be content. Send a text to your loved one, write notes, give them kisses and hugs, tell them why your thankful for them, tell them you appreciate them, value them, lift them up, cheer them, give them the gift of a break from the kids, give them the gift of time as they carve out some time with friends. As you give and give and give love to them, your wants and desires will no longer consume you. Giving, loving and appreciating will generate in you the desire to give more instead of just wanting more.
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