The most casual Little House on the Prairie fan knows that wealth, luxury, and instant gratification aren’t essentials for contentment. Nonetheless, people—including people who are well off by most standards—tend toward denigrating their present circumstances and living for some imagined utopia: “I’d be happy if only I were richer/married/in another job/in another part of the country.”
Truth is, they wouldn’t. The dissatisfaction habit is as insatiable as wildfire. And if we constantly bemoan our lot, have we any right to reprimand our children when they whine for more than we can give?
You may be dealing with a tight budget, an illness in the family, or simply the stress of chronic overload. Regardless, you and your family can learn the secrets of being content in any circumstances.
Dissatisfaction and “Why me?” grumbling are perhaps less frequent in low-tech societies because people are less exposed to reminders that others have more. If you look to social media and society magazines to tell you what “everyone else” has, you’re sending an open invitation to “why not me?” self-pity. Switch your web-surfing hours for time savoring and improving what you have; and know that many “beautiful people” dream of trading their secret struggles for a healthy/happily-married/house-full-of-children/uncomplicated life like yours.
Helping out someone in need benefits the giver as well as the recipient: there’s hardly a person alive who doesn’t feel richer after making a gesture of generosity. The more directly you relate to the receiver, the better:
If “count your blessings” seems clichéd, try one of these techniques for finding joy in the moment: