You have everything you need right now.
You don’t need to go shopping. You don’t need a sweater or an iPhone or a new book.
True contentment, true peace, realizes this.
If you find yourself wanting something, feeling an itch underneath the surface of your skin, a longing, an incompleteness, know that this is caused by an untrue thought, and you can easily feel whole again, without the thing you think you need.
We often distract ourselves with things, thinking that if we have one more of this or a shinier that, we’ll finally be able to do what we need to do, be who we want to be.
Today’s society (and particularly marketing) is designed to help us feel not good enough.
I’ve never been a very stylish girl. I keep my clothes simple, mostly blacks, whites, grays. I trim my own waist-length hair and there is only one color of eyeshadow I ever put on my lids. Occasionally, I’ll see a woman who is an artist with clothes and makeup. She’ll have an incredible command of color and texture and grace. For years, I looked longingly at those women (and sometimes jealously) and it would give me that uneasy feeling of, “I am not enough.” To soothe that feeling, I would go buy a new palette of makeup, impractical shoes, or a hair product that promised more volume. The palette would get stuffed in the back of the drawer, the shoes would slowly make their way to the back of the closet, and the bottle would expire before I used it a handful of times. They didn’t make me feel any more whole or complete- in fact, I felt even worse, having spent my money in vain, and having visual, dusty reminders of whims that didn’t make everything right.
Now that I’ve shifted to mindfulness, I no longer get caught in that cycle.
When I notice style (whether in person or in an advertisement) I can appreciate it for what it is. Beauty. Grace. Style. I can smile and open my heart to it, grateful for such exquisite beauty in the world. If a thought comes that says, “I should be that,” I laugh. It’s not true. I have my own modest style. I have my own colors that work for me. I am not incomplete- I’ve lived an incredible, beautiful life just the way I am.
Occasionally, I’ll have a thought that will try to tell me, “You need this lipstick to look sexy,” or “You’re not a beautiful woman unless your thighs are sleek and toned.” Just like every other thought that comes, I get to choose which ones I attach to. I get to choose which ones I allow to stick around. And blissfully, mindfully, those thoughts no longer get squatting rights in my brain. I’m too happy being happy. Content. Blissfully, wonderfully present in what is, not listening to the thoughts of “what should be” or “what could be.”
You don’t have to let those thoughts hang around, either.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” – Buddha
How to Cultivate Contentment & Feel Whole
1. Notice what you’re noticing. Often, we surround ourselves with things that make us feel less-than. Magazines, television, certain people have an uncanny knack for telling us what we “should” be. I’ve found that just being aware of these things makes it easier to identify the feeling they’re causing.
2. Notice what you’re feeling. After flipping through a magazine, you might notice a feeling of unease. Catching the commercials on TV might leave you feeling a little apprehensive, like you need to go shopping to fix something you didn’t realize, only ten minutes ago, needed fixed. As soon as you notice that you’re feeling something, you take your power back. You are now the person who feels. Not the feeling itself. Our mind and emotions try to trick us into thinking we are our mind, we are our emotions, but it’s not true.
Blissfully, we have a choice.
3. Pause. The power of silence, of taking a moment to reconnect with yourself is immense. Breathe in and out. Recognize that you have everything you could possibly need right now. If you don’t have that gadget or those clothes, however will you make it? Just fine- you’ve done an exceptional job so far.
4. Be grateful. Gratitude brings us powerfully into the present. Be grateful not only for your ability to choose, but for the things you already have in your life. Make an actual list. Ten things, twenty things, even three things. Come back to that feeling of enough-ness through gratitude.
5. Choose to feel whole. Just knowing that you can choose this at any moment is a powerful shifter. it’s one of your greatest tools. Remember that at any moment you can choose to feel whole, no matter what is or isn’t in your life. You need nothing to feel whole except your realization that you are.
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