This image takes me back to my first visit to a Jesuit mission station, a village in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. The villagers had to walk a long distances in the hot sun to get essential supplies. We live in a world of instant gratification where we place an order on our phones and we have whatever we want coming to our doorstep within 30-45 minutes. Most of the time, we fail to appreciate the luxuries we have. Instead, we keep looking for more, comparing what we have with others.
So many of us live in a perpetual state of wanting more—more money, more shiny new gadgets, more things. And we chase those material possessions with more gusto than we pursue what’s been empirically shown to increase happiness: more gratitude, more experiences, and more time.
Here are some ways to start learning to appreciate what you have and stop wanting more:
- Appreciate What You Have by Practicing Gratitude
People who are grateful are happier, less depressed and less stressed. Start by thanking someone daily, You can send a short whatsapp message, a message, an email, a phone call.
- Get to Know Someone Who Doesn’t Have What You Have
Interacting with the less fortunate has definitely helped me be grateful for everything I have today. Connecting with people different from us broadens our compassion and awareness and deepens our sense of community—and when we get to know people who don’t have the things we take for granted, it gives us an even deeper appreciation for what we do have.
- Appreciate What You Have by Giving More
The next time you’re about to splurge on a new item for yourself, think about spending it on a loved one—or to charity. More than money, giving your time is much more valuable. I am blessed with the opportunity to mentor Shree through my current organisation’s phone mentoring initiative. Below is what I had shared with the team after the first few weeks.